Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Pawn for a Queen by Fiona Buckley

If Queen of Ambition was all about Ursula fighting her attraction to her manservant Brockley, then A Pawn for a Queen should have been subtitled We Need to Get Ursula Married Off Again and Quickly. Whilst there is still some references to the closeness between Brockley and Ursula, fortunately it was not as common as it was in the last book.

With Ursula a recent widow, the prologue is about her getting ready to get married to an unnamed man. When the book begins properly, it is to find Ursula being asked to go off to Scotland to follow after her cousin Edward Faldene who it seems has been involved in gathering supporter's names and promises of support for Queen Mary Stuart should she ever gain the throne in England. This is of course treasonous to Queen Elizabeth I, and Ursula needs to find Edward and stop him before he gets caught and faces traitor's punishment. Only problem is that Ursula does not have the Queen's approval to undertake this journey or the investigation.

So begins a cross country chase, taking Ursula from her home through to the wild Scottish lands, and into Edinburgh. Unfortunately, Ursula catches up with her cousin, only to find him dead in his bed, having been murdered. Ursula being Ursula, she must investigate, and soon finds herself involved in life at the court of Mary Stuart.

At various points in the adventure, several of the main characters tell Ursula that she should be getting married, as do several of the minor characters. Luckily for her, she manages to attract willing men whereever she goes. Unluckily, one of them is Sir Brian Dormbois, who is a very engaging villain in more ways than one. Buckley gave the book a very interesting twist, with Ursula behaving in a very unusual way for a 16th century lady, but it all works out in the end.

There is also a big twist in the end of this book regarding Ursula's parentage. Whilst I understand why the author chose this twist, it seems to me to have been a rather obvious thing to have done. Once again though the ground work has definitely been laid very nicely for future books in the series.

Overall, this was a very entertaining read in a series that I enjoy.

Rating 4/5

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