ESSEX - Tudor Rebel
(Book Two of the Elizabethan Series)
By Tony Riches
Publication Date: 9th April 2021
Publisher: Preseli Press
Page Length: 352 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, is one of the most intriguing men of the Elizabethan period. Tall and handsome, he soon becomes a ‘favourite’ at court, so close to the queen many wonder if they are lovers.
The truth is far more complex, as each has what the other yearns for. Robert Devereux longs for recognition, wealth and influence. His flamboyant naïveté amuses the ageing Queen Elizabeth, like the son she never had, and his vitality makes her feel young.
Robert Devereux’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Walsingham House, March 1597
Frances raised an eyebrow as she read the advice from Francis Bacon about how Robert might win back the queen’s affection. ‘He says not to underestimate Her Majesty, as she has the keenest political mind of anyone he knows.’
Robert gave her a wry look. ‘If that’s so, why can’t she see I serve her best interests?’ He pushed the door closed, not wishing to be overheard by servants, or the Cecils’ spies. ‘She changes her mind too often for Master Bacon’s advice to be of use.’
She looked up at him, and for a moment he saw the woman he’d married, before the familiar disapproval darkened her eyes. ‘You asked to see me in private, and I don’t believe you only want me to see this.’ She handed back Francis Bacon’s notes.
Robert sat back in his chair. He regretted the distance between them, but had only himself to blame. ‘The queen tried to take my share of the ransom from Cadiz – so I told her I made no other profit from the venture.’
‘Is that not true?’ She raised an eyebrow.
He took the blue velvet bag he’d brought, and slid it across the table to her. ‘You’re going to help me make my words true, Frances.’
She stared at the bag, then pulled the cord securing the neck and poured some of the contents into her hand. Gleaming rubies and gold jewellery spilled out. She emptied the rest on to the table, and picked out a sparkling diamond ring, turning it in the light from the candle.
‘A king’s ransom?’
Robert smiled. ‘I want you to have it all.’
Frances tried the ring and found it fitted her finger. ‘I wonder what became of the owner of this?’
‘The Dutch had a score to settle with the Spanish, but I give you my word we treated the women, children and elderly with respect, and set them free.’
Frances scooped the gold and jewels back into their velvet bag and retied the neck. ‘I’ll offer you a piece of advice in return, worth more than all these looted jewels.’ She stared into his eyes. ‘Learn from your mistakes.’
‘I do!’ He’d not meant to raise his voice, but her words annoyed him.
‘You do not. You never have.’ She thought for a moment. ‘The Lord Admiral is old and tired. He stood in your way, and lost you the Spanish treasure fleet. You should lead your own fleet. Finish what you began.’
‘The queen said she will never allow it.’
‘And what did you do?’
He gave her a sheepish look, and hesitated before replying. ‘I had to concede I’ve had my chance.’
‘You did not. I know you threatened to return to Wales, until the queen called you back.’
‘What would you have me do, Frances?’
‘Surround yourself with good men you can trust, like your stepfather, and your uncle. Win the support of the Cecils, and make your peace with Raleigh.’
‘Robert Cecil schemes behind my back, and Raleigh cares only for himself.’
‘Robert Cecil is Secretary of State, and the queen often dines at Burghley House. You need his support, and Raleigh might have to save your life again.’
Robert studied her with new respect, and smiled. ‘You forgot to add that I should never underestimate my wife.’
Robert Devereux’s remarkable true story continues in ESSEX- Tudor Rebel, the epic tale of loyalty and love and adventure follows Robert from his youth to his fateful rebellion.
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling Tudor historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham.
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx