I absolutely love a new Margaret George book. I've been waiting with eager anticipation for this one to come out. What sets Margaret George apart from a lot of historical authors is her incredible research combined with fantastic writing skills. The result is a historically accurate and highly readable novel. Don't let the size of her books scare you off (this one is close to 700 pages). What is inside is interesting reading.
This book begins in the later part of Elizabeth I's reign. It is the time of the first Spanish Armada and continues until the end of her life. The story of Lettice Knollys (a cousin and enemy of the Queen) is intertwined in juxtaposition. This book is a departure from many recent writings of Queen Elizabeth. George keeps her as the true Virgin Queen (where many others maintain that she was no virgin). It shows her as a strong woman, a symbol of a time remembered as the Golden Age of England. The secondary characters read as a who's who of the time (William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, William Cecil, and even Guy Fawkes making an appearance among others). I completely enjoyed this book and found it to be a good installment for her books of the era. She previously authored tales of King Henry VIII (my favorite of her works) and Mary, Queen of Scots (also a fantastic read). I look forward to her next offering and wonder which historical figure she will tackle next.