Author: Michelle Diener.
Published: August 1st 2013.
Sort: Part three of ‘Susanna Horenbout & John Parker’.
Part one: In a treacherous court.
Part two: Keeper of the King’s secret.
Source: Netgalley & Michelle Diener.
An artist never betrays her patron.. especially one of the world's most powerful kings. Susanna Horenbout has learned this lesson from the cradle. But when she receives a letter from her father telling her to do just that, she faces a dilemma. Betray Henry VIII, or carry out the request of her father’s employer, Margaret of Austria, and pass secret information to Henry’s queen, Katherine of Aragon. Caught between the machinations of her husband and her nephew, the Emperor Charles, Queen Katherine needs all the allies she can get. But what can Susanna really do to help her, and even if she does, will it be enough? Susanna and her betrothed, Parker - one of Henry's most trusted courtiers - balance on the knife’s edge of treason as they try to make sense of both international and domestic conspiracies. Sometimes, it's better the enemy you know.
I’m a fan of Michelle Diener’s series and when she emailed me that I was pre-approved on Netgalley, I had to read it. I wasn’t disappointed. This is yet another well-researched book filled with action, some mystery and many spies. I love it when it’s clear that the author took time to research their facts. It gives this book a realistic feeling.
Susanna is yet again in danger. Her brother Lucas brings a letter with a secret for Katherine, from Margaret. It’s about her daughter Mary and her marriages to Emperor Charles. There are many people who are trying to intercept that message and Susanna is portrayed as ‘traitor.’ Wolsey even manages to get her to the tower, but thanks to the queen she gets a fine room instead of a cell in the dungeon. It’s up to Parker to prove that Susanna is innocent, but he also has to deal with the assassin from book 2. He is not done with Susanna and he wants his jewel.
I really like how action-driven these stories are. Everything happens fast-paced and there is no time to feel bored. There is this mystery enemy who is trying to kill her before she can deliver the message and Wolsey is back to take revenge. Many things are going on and it was fun to jump around, especially when Susanna unravels a plot to murder Henry’s bastard son, Fitzroy.
The characters are great. I like Susanna’s attitude and how she stands up for herself. She doesn’t pity herself and is always busy to fight back. This book wouldn’t have been this good if she was a whiner. There is also the magnificent Parker. I love how protective he is and how he is willing to do everything to keep his Susanna safe. They are so cute together and they have a perfect chemistry. Other side-characters are also well-described.
Diener delivered another interesting story with much background and I can’t wait for other books.