- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
- Publish Date: July 31, 2018
From acclaimed author Karen Brooks comes this intriguing novel rich in historical detail and drama as it tells the unforgettable story of Queen Elizabeth’s daring, ruthless spymaster and his female protégée.
In Queen Elizabeth’s England, where no one can be trusted and secrets are currency, one woman stands without fear.
Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London’s most ingenious locksmith. She has apprenticed with her father since childhood, and there is no lock too elaborate for her to crack. After scandal destroys her reputation, Mallory has returned to her father’s home and lives almost as a recluse, ignoring the whispers and gossip of their neighbors. But Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster and a frequent client of Mallory’s father, draws her into his world of danger and deception. For the locksmith’s daughter is not only good at cracking locks, she also has a talent for codes, spycraft, and intrigue. With Mallory by Sir Francis’s side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery.
But Mallory’s loyalty wavers when she witnesses the brutal and bloody public execution of three Jesuit priests and realizes the human cost of her espionage. And later, when she discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she is forced to choose between her country and her heart.
Once Sir Francis’s greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his worst threat—and there is only one way the Queen’s master spy deals with his enemies…
I was so excited to read this book when I first heard about it and even more delighted when I was approved for an ARC. Apparently, this was published under a different publisher, but William Morrow picked it up. However it happened, here we are! Karen Brooks is a new author to me but one who will always be on my radar now. She’s an excellent writer, weaving a truly fascinating and heavy read. But don’t fret–the heaviness I speak of is a good one–this book is almost 600 pages! Yet, it’s a story that will stay with you and draws you in right away.
Mallory Bright is a brilliant narrator. She’s a young woman who has sullied her reputation–and thus by extension, her family’s, as well–but fortune seemingly shines upon the Locksmith’s Daughter. Where other women would bear the brunt of their shame, Mallory is given the chance of a lifetime.
However, it is one full of intrigue, danger and comes with consequences that Mallory had no way of foreseeing she would ever be part of. In an era where there are Catholic plots to set Mary Stuart of Scotland upon Elizabeth Tudor’s thrones, Mallory learns quickly that her actions have far-reaching and devastating consequences. But for Queen and country, is she willing to take that step? Redemption is something she longs for but is it worth the cost?
I was absolutely over the moon to see a book where ample time would be dedicated to Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster. As a historical figure, he is seldom appreciated for all of his efforts to keep Queen and Country safe. He is an interesting figure and I loved getting to read about him and the lengths he went to in order to achieve his means.
This was well researched and quite frankly, one of the best reads I’ve had in ages. Each character, be they fictional or a real figure, jumps off the pages and is amazingly vibrant. The scenery is also presented in an unflinching way, so you’ll be able to truly envision the sights and smells. I also appreciated the usage of Elizabethan era terms and actions. I truly stepped back in time!
A wonderful and amazing novel. I couldn’t put it down. Bravo!
- I’d give it ★★★★ stars.
- I was provided a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 😀 (Thank ya’ll!)
- I would recommend this to a friend!
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