1559. A girl arrives in London to search for her brother. Aalia, an awkward, arrogant teenager plans to bring William to his senses, until she discovers that both their lives are based on a lie. Aalia must unravel a web of secrets but has the weight of her past to contend with. Courageous and undisciplined, Aalia gradually comes to terms with the truth that William, her brother, has royal blood. Deciding to undermine the men who want to use him as a pawn, Aalia must negotiate a world where secrecy arms the powerful. But unwilling to ask for anyone’s help she is forced into making a fateful decision. Who can she trust when everyone around her is plotting? Is the truth really something worth dying for?
This epic story of secrets and betrayal paints a vivid picture of Elizabethan England and asks questions that span beyond the test of time.
Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres so I was very excited to be asked to be part of the blog tour for The Blood of Kings. I was gripped by the plot from the first page, everyone likes a conspiracy of a boy who could be King. I like the fact that Angela King did use a completely fictional story line rather than go over historical conspiracy theories that have mooted around for years; the princes in the tower, and Perkin Warbeck who was believed to be one of the missing princes. Angela really brings Elizabethan London to life with her descriptive writing; we are taken through the busy wharf, to the gardens where bear baiting takes place, the rowdy inns, the Palace at Greenwich and even to Northern England and Scotland where tensions run high after the death of the King of France and the rising star of Mary Queen of Scots. This really is a history lesson in a novel.
The characters are as colourful as the descriptions of London. There is a real mix of cultures represented, Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and also a mix of fictional and real characters. One of my favourite characters was Aalia, she was feisty, headstrong, was very good with a knife, yet had the voice of an angel. Throughout the book she managed to charm nearly everyone she met, but she was no fool. There was a mystery about her, we never find out her parentage, although hints are dropped in the story.
I did however find the story confusing in parts. There are a lot of characters introduced and I don’t think there was enough explanation as to who they were in some cases. In the very first chapter there are myriad of characters introduced with little information as to who they were, just lots of names which put me off slightly, I found I had to keep going back and checking. In several places the characters were at times named by their title and then later by their christian name; Lord Scythan then referred to as Simon. The same goes for the organisation of St Thomas, a sort of trading company, an integral part of the plot but again little real detail about who they are and what they do. I felt there was a lot of room for characters and plot to be developed, which would have added to the enjoyment of the book. I also felt that the story was a bit flat and slow in parts, I think the balance of the book needed to be readdressed.
Having said all this I did enjoy The Blood of Kings and Angela King’s writing. It was full of secrets and intrigue to keep your attention, descriptive writing to draw you in and characters you will feel you know by the end of the book.