The Devil’s Slaveby Tracy Borman
The acclaimed biographer of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell returns with the second novel in her historical trilogy set in the early years of the treacherous Stuart reign
At the end of The King’s Witch, the first book in Tracy Borman’s Stuart-era trilogy, Frances Gorges was pregnant with the child of her dead lover, Thomas Wintour, executed for his role as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Now, in The Devil’s Slave, Frances is compelled to return to the dissolute and dangerous court where she has been suspected of witchcraft.
Catholics have gone underground in the new Puritan regime of King James I, and yet whispers of conspiracies continue to echo behind closed doors and down the halls of the royal palaces. Against this perilous backdrop, accompanied by her son George and her husband Sir Thomas Tyringham—whom she married conveniently to mask the true identity of her son’s father—Frances reunites with her former mistress, the Princess Elizabeth, now of marriageable age, as well as other less friendly members of the court: Prince Henry, heir to the crown who emulates his father’s brutality without scruple; Lord Cecil, eager to persecute Frances as a witch even as his own health rapidly declines; and King James himself, ever more paranoid and cruel towards alleged heretics and traitors. Yet a surprising ally emerges in the person of Sir Walter Raleigh, himself a prisoner in the Tower of London. With more lives than merely her own on the line, Frances soon finds herself caught in a spider’s web of secrets, promises, and plots.
Tracy Borman brings to life vivid characters from history, recreating the ever-treacherous court of the first Stuart king, and a historical period that has fascinated readers for centuries.
“The pages turn briskly, apace with Frances’s increasing bravery. Surprising revelations and a cliffhanger prepare us for Volume 3. As Borman’s protagonist grows a spine, she’s starting to grow on us.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A story weaved around real-life characters by an acclaimed historian . . . Vivid . . . Everything you would want to read in a novel, ranging from palatial royals and intrigues to betrayals to a love story . . . Knowledgeable and entertaining.”—Washington Book Review, “Essential Novels for This Summer”
“The incredibly detailed and vivid narrative transports readers to a time when women were seen as no more than a commodity to be traded, and conspiracy loomed in every corner. This engaging page-turner is enhanced by flawless prose and an absorbing plot, making it a perfect choice for fans of historical fiction and post-Tudor England.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Borman lures readers into this first in a series of historical novels set during the reign of the Stuarts . . . [She] is an astute chronicler of 17th-century English life, keenly depicting the excesses of the court and the dangers of religious persecution. The vivid detail and effortless storytelling will appeal to many readers, particularly fans of historicals in the vein of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.”—Publishers Weekly
“Historian Borman embeds a fictional character in the royal court of James I in her promising debut novel . . . By introducing Tom Wintour, a real-life figure, as Frances’ love interest, Borman adds a little historical heft and a lot of spice to her tale. The action culminates with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, as the stage is nicely set for volume two of this projected trilogy.”—Booklist
“Tracy Borman’s debut historical novel has it all: conspiracy, betrayal, dark intrigues, bloody deeds, a poignant love story—and the most famous plot in English history. In the debauched court of James I, nothing is as it seems, loyalties are torn, and danger is all around. At the centre of it all, Borman has created an engaging and courageous heroine, and her highly accomplished writing ensures that the reader is swept along to a shattering and shocking climax.”—Alison Weir, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII
“Exquisitely written, sumptuous in detail and thrillingly plotted, The King’s Witch takes you deep into the darkness of the early Jacobean Court and into the heart of the wonderful, unforgettable Lady Frances. The first of what promises to be a magnificent trilogy.”—Kate Williams, author of Becoming Queen Victoria and Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen