Wednesday 24 April 2024

A Splendid Defiance is a dramatic and enchanting story of forbidden love, set against the turmoil and anguish of the English Civil War.


A Splendid Defiance
By Stella Riley 
Audiobook performed by Alex Wyndham

Publication Date: 6th December 2012
Publisher:  Stella Riley
Page Length: 371 Pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction / Historical Romance

For two years England has been in the grip of Civil War.  In Banbury, Oxfordshire, the Cavaliers hold the Castle, the Roundheads want it back and the town is full of zealous Puritans.

Consequently, the gulf between Captain Justin Ambrose and Abigail Radford, the sister of a fanatically religious shopkeeper, ought to be unbridgeable.

The key to both the fate of the Castle and that of Justin and Abigail lies in defiance.  But will it be enough?

A Splendid Defiance is a dramatic and enchanting story of forbidden love, set against the turmoil and anguish of the English Civil War.


The Murderous Spy

Mistress Rhodes’ door was slightly ajar.  Justin entered without knocking, closed it behind him and slid the bolt home.  Startled, Anne looked up from the array of powders and potions that littered her table and shot to her feet.
‘How dare you walk in here like this?  Get out!’
Justin gazed meditatively on the bottles and jars. ‘Which one of those contains the belladonna?’
She sensed danger.  ‘What makes you suppose that I have any?’
‘I know you do.’  He began lightly touching them.  ‘Is it this?  Or this?  Abigail Radford is still alive, you know.’
Her eyes had narrowed but she shrugged and said carelessly, ‘I have no idea what you are talking about. And I’d like you to leave.’
‘I daresay.  But I’m going nowhere – and neither are you.  We’re going to have a little chat, you and I.’
‘I have nothing to say to you.’
‘You may think that now – but you’ll have plenty to say before I’m done. Ah no!’  His hand shot out, imprisoning her arm as she attempted to hit him.  ‘That really isn’t a good start.’
She twisted in his hold and brought her free hand up to his face, the nails poised to rip and tear. Justin felled it using the hard edge of his palm.  Then, smiling, he forced her down on the stool.
‘As I said … a little chat about Abby Radford and Tom Mayhew and Sir Samuel Luke.  You see, sweetheart, I know it all – or nearly all – and you are going to tell me the rest.’
‘I’ll see you damned before I tell you anything.  And you’ll never prove it.’
‘Oh but I will,’ he assured her calmly.  ‘You really shouldn’t have poisoned Abby.  Her brother is a little annoyed with you.  And he still has the last letter you trusted him with.’
Shock rendered her temporarily speechless.  Then, her voice losing every vestige of gentility, she said, ‘That bloody little daisy.  I should have seen to him.’
‘I’m sure you’d have got around to it in time.  Why did you kill Tom Mayhew?’
She curbed her rage, aware of the perils of saying too much.
‘I didn’t.’
‘You did.  But not with nightshade.  What did you use?’
‘Nothing.  And that’s all you’ll get from me.’
‘You think so?’  His fingers strayed at random through the clutter of the table until they encountered the bone handle of a small knife. ‘You are taking me for a gentleman and it’s a mistake – particularly now.  For you will talk … one way or another.’  His hand closed on the knife and, turning a glacial smile on her, he added conversationally, ‘I learned a lot at Naseby.’
The blue eyes widened a little. ‘You wouldn’t dare.’
‘No?  You don’t know me very well, do you?  I don’t hold women sacred.  I have known others like you, you see.  And I don’t make empty threats or baulk at soiling my hands when the devil drives.  So you will do well to believe what I say for I’ll use any means I have to, short of actually killing you.  And that is for the law to do.’

Pick up your copy of
A Splendid Defiance
Special Tour Price: Ebook £1.95 / US $1.95 (and equivalent) for the duration of the tour!

Stella Riley 

Winner of four gold medals for historical romance and sixteen Book Readers’ Appreciation Medallions, Stella Riley lives in the beautiful medieval town of Sandwich in Kent.
She is fascinated by the English Civil Wars and has written six books set in that period. These, like the 7 book Rockliffe series, the Brandon Brothers trilogy and, most recently The Shadow Earl, are all available in audio, performed by Alex Wyndham.

Stella enjoys travel, reading, theatre, Baroque music and playing the harpsichord.  She also has a fondness for men with long hair - hence her 17th and 18th century heroes.

Connect with Stella:

#HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #EnglishCivilWar #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub 


  1. Thank you so much for hosting Stella Riley today, with an intriguing excerpt from A Splendid Defiance.

    Take care,
    Cathie xx
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

  2. A great excerpt, it really makes me want to read this book.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx