It is May 1560. As sinister storm clouds gather overhead, twenty-six-year-old Queen Elizabeth dispatches William Cecil, her most trusted adviser, to Scotland for crucial negotiations. Handsome, ambitious Lord Robert Dudley is at her side. But their leisurely midsummer idyll is cut short when the court’s master lutenist plunges to his death from a parapet beneath the queen’s window. The loyal retainers of Elizabeth’s privy council do not accept the official verdict of accidental death. Their fears are borne out when another tragedy rocks the realm, and points the way to a conspiracy to bring down Elizabeth and seize the throne. As ill winds of treachery swirl around the court, and suspicion falls on those within Elizabeth’s intimate circle, a vengeful enemy slips from the shadows...a traitorous usurper who would be sovereign.
With The Twylight Tower, Karen Harper brings a legendary era to life, drawing us into an intoxicating world of majesty and mayhem, political intrigue and adventure...where danger is everywhere...and where a young queen journeys to greatness in the long shadow of her bloodstained past.
This is the third book in the Elizabeth I series, following on from The Poyson Garden and The Tidal Poole. The story opens with the death of the Queen's lute player when he tumbles from the tower. At the beginning, Queen Elizabeth doesn't think that it is murder, even though many of her close companions think otherwise. Elizabeth herself is too busy in her relationship with Robert Dudley, to pay attention to a possible murder, let alone the affairs of state. However, when there is another death, and this time it is in circumstances that could have seen her injured herself, she is ready to pay a bit more attention.
What this book did have was a really interesting mix of actual characters and events, and fictional characters, and the story itself was quite interesting. What the above blurb does not show is that this book is also another theory on the age old question - who killed Amy Robsart, wife of Robin Dudley.
So why isn't this book graded higher...well, it really seemed to drag a little, and the resolution, including of the 'who killed Amy Robsart' seemed a little too unusual for me, but the relationships between the queen and her circle of friends were very well developed, with threads of storyline continuing from earlier books.
Now I have to decide whether I want to continue reading this series, because my library doesn't have any of the next five books in the series, although I suspect I could probably get an inter library loan if I really wanted to read the next one at least.