The Queen's Vow
A Novel of Isabella of Castile
Author: C. W. Gortner
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Hardcover: 400 pages
About the Book
No one believed I was destined for greatness.
So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.
As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.
From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.
After reading his previous historical novels, Mr. Gortner quickly became one of my favorite authors. His uncanny ability to climb into his character's head is astounding and leaves the reader both breathless and unable to forget the characters long after the book is finished. "The Queen's Vow" was no exception.
So here I sit again, after finishing a wonderful novel by Mr. Gortner, and like normal, I have no words that could ever do justice or even touch upon the essence and beauty in which it was written. It is frustrating, because I need to do so, but the words just refuse to come. Yes, I can tell you what the book was about, but that's what the synopsis is for and that would instead be a book report.
What I can tell you is how wonderfully the characters were created, and how amazingly well described things were - so well that one could feel they were part of the story. The sights, the smells, the sounds were all so real that one could feel the dew in the early morning or smell at feast as it was set on the table. That is the power of the book I have a hard time describing!
I adored Isabella of Castile. She was portrayed as strong and willful woman that was known to buck the system and shake things up, but she also had a very human side to her - a side that makes Isabella's character easy to connect with. All that she went through and the things she did for love, country and God (or would religion be a better description?)
Written from Isabella's perspective, The Queen's Vow was a fascinating and totally captivating read and one that will be impossible to forget!
Please be aware - this is an adult book and contains things that might be considered objectionable. I would recommend reading before giving to an older teen.
See what others on the tour are saying about this amazing book.
About the Author:
In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. His novels have garnered international praise and been translated into thirteen languages to date. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.
He's currently at work on his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about the early years of Lucrezia Borgia, as well as the third novel in his Tudor series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles (US) or Elizabeth's Spymaster (UK).
Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. lives in Northern California
If you'd like to learn more about Mr. Gortner, you can visit his website at: http://www.cwgortner.com/.
He can also be found on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/christopher.w.gortner
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for this tour. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.