Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – Mary: Tudor Princess by Tony Riches


Welcome to the series where I share my thoughts on the books that I read. Not as many as I would like, but I am currently on target to read a book a week. I have already enjoyed three books written by Tony Riches and this book is no exception. Published on February 1st, Mary: Tudor Princess is the story of the daughter of Henry VII and sister to the newly crowned King Henry VIII.

About Mary Tudor Princess

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy, the true story of the Tudor dynasty continues with the daughter of King Henry VII, sister to King Henry VIII. Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her.

Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe. Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love?

Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this ‘sequel’ follows Mary’s story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

My review of the the book.

This book opens in 1509 as the 13 year old Princess Mary witnesses the coronation of her  brother King Henry VIII, who is himself just five years older. Despite his youth, Henry has an expansive and expensive plan to extend his realm, which includes marrying his older brother Arthur’s widow Catherine of Aragon; then 23 years old.

The young Princess Mary is drawn into a diplomatic web of intrigue and alliances; a pawn for barter to the highest bidder. The stakes are enormous and King Henry and his advisors move the pieces around the chess board to achieve the most effective outcome. This includes a strategic betrothal, and finally a marriage for Mary, who finds herself at a distant court, in the middle of a completely different intrigue.

This is not a dry dusty history book with dates and statistics. It is a story of a young girl and events that are beyond her control for most of her life. However, it is clear when you first meet her at 13, that she is very well educated, determined and also brave. She faces the decisions made by others with stoicism in public and it is only when alone do you see the vulnerable and frightened child that she still is. She loves and supports her brother Henry, despite his mercurial nature and treatment of his wife Catherine who she considers a sister. Even knowing his swift retribution for those closest to him that fall from favour, Mary still has the courage to go against his will, fighting to be with the man she loves and her happiness.

We follow the various key events of her life, through her thoughts and words that Tony Riches has created. Sharing the fears, love, despair, grief and triumphs of this young woman, mother and queen in her own right. I would have liked to have met her; I think she was a remarkable woman in her own quiet and determined way. 

The other characters are just as well portrayed. We get to witness the behaviour of the young Henry VIII, who did not expect to become king, and is therefore completely unprepared for his new role. His early reign is a hedonistic mission to spend his inherited finances; surrounded by sycophants who are only too happy to encourage him. Behind the scenes ambitious statesman make deals that will further England’s position in Europe, and their own, irrespective of the impact on the young men and women involved.

Meanwhile Queen Catherine is having child after child in a desperate race against time to provide a male heir who lives beyond childhood. Her already tenuous hold on the crown is at stake as Henry pursues other opportunities.

Do not expect flowery language of the age, but plain English and a clear and descriptive narrative. I enjoyed finding out more about this rarely seen princess who played an important role in the history of the Tudors and also England’s future in Europe. I recommend this book and also the rest of the Tudor Series.

Buy the Mary: Tudor Princess: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Tudor-Princess-Tony-Riches-ebook/dp/B079K1DLRL

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Tudor-Princess-Tony-Riches-ebook/dp/B079K1DLRL

A selection of other books by Tony Riches

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOXA

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOX

Read more reviews and follow Tony Riches on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5604088.Tony_Riches

About Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present day Kenya. A specialist in the history of the early Tudors, he is best known for his Tudor Trilogy. Tony’s other international best sellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’.

Connect to Tony Riches

Website: http://www.tonyriches.com
Blog: http://www.tonyriches.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyriches
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tony.riches.9

Thank you for dropping in today and hope you have enjoyed the review as much as I enjoyed the book and the others in the Tudor series

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – Owen: Book One in the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches


Today my review is for the first in the Tudor Trilogy – Owen by Tony Riches. I have actually just finished all three books in the trilogy and will review the other two books at some point in the near future. I can however recommend all three books and enjoyed reading them back to back.

About Owen – Book One of the Tudor Trilogy.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, OWEN is the epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience as he changes the course of English history.

England 1422: Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned King of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector.

They fall in love, risking Owen’s life and Queen Catherine’s reputation—but how do they found the dynasty which changes British history – the Tudors?

This is the first historical novel to fully explore the amazing life of Owen Tudor, grandfather of King Henry VII and the great-grandfather of King Henry VIII. Set against a background of the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York, which develops into what have become known as the Wars of the Roses, Owen’s story deserves to be told.

My review for the book.

I loved history at school but it was never taught in depth. Central figures such as Elizabeth I, Queen Mary of Scotland and of course Henry VIII were mentioned, as were major battles or events in their lives. But you never got to know the person behind the crown or those around them in great detail.

I discovered Bernard Cornwell at an early age and have read all his books. And that is why I am delighted to have discovered Tony Riches, who writes his books with the people as the focus, with the events being incorporated into their story, rather than the other way around. This accomplished with not just superb story-telling but by giving Owen Tudor his own voice.

It is 1422 a few years after the Welsh rebellion led by Owen Glendower against Henry IV fails, and his supporters, including his cousins the Tudor family, have also lost lands and titles.

Owen Tudor has been a soldier serving in France, but is now a servant in a privileged position at Windsor castle when the young widow of Henry V, Queen Catherine of Valois arrives with her baby son, Prince Henry later to be King Henry VI. Their first meeting was to be fateful, and during the following years of civil war in England, would lead to the founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Tony Riches takes us through the next 40 years in this first book in the trilogy. It begins as a love story that would change the course of history, but it also provides a clear and engrossing background to the beginning of the hostilities between the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Alliances change rapidly with the English throne as the ultimate prize.  What might be dismissed as minor engagements are given the respect they deserve, as integral moves in a chess game that spans decades, and is played adjacent to, and part of the 100 years war between the English monarchy and the French House of Valois.

The characters, even those with a less regal role, are richly drawn and deliver a much enjoyed respite from the destructive and violent events of the time. Sympathy grows for the young royal brides barely in their teens who are traded for land, alliances and truces. The cost of disloyalty is harsh and usually brutally extracted, unless there might be more to gain from clemency.

I would recommend the book as one that brings the cast members of this long drawn out struggle for power into the spotlight. History is a wonderful subject; but can be very dry and indigestible in the wrong hands. That is not the case with the Tudor Trilogy and whilst Tony Riches has created additional fictitious characters and events within the story, they serve to bring the lead cast members to life.

I highly recommend the following two books in the trilogy as well.

Read some of the 300 reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Owen-Book-One-Tudor-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B011YBZU8U

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Owen-Book-One-Tudor-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B011YBZU8U

A selection of other books by Tony Riches

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOXA

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOX

Read more reviews and follow Tony Riches on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5604088.Tony_Riches

About Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present day Kenya. A specialist in the history of the early Tudors, he is best known for his Tudor Trilogy. Tony’s other international best sellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’.

Connect to Tony Riches

Website: http://www.tonyriches.com
Blog: http://www.tonyriches.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyriches
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tony.riches.9

Thank you for dropping in today and hope you have enjoyed the review as much as I enjoyed the books in this trilogy.