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The Hooded Hawke: An Elizabeth I Mystery [NOOK Book]


This summer, Queen Elizabeth I is in no mood for games. She and her court were expecting to spend the warmer months lounging in great manor houses, feasting in the fields, tempting forbidden romance, and perhaps engaging in sport. But someone in the Queen's entourage isn't playing by the rules…and soon Elizabeth is dodging crossbows, longbows, and--worst of all--the threats of her greatest rival, Mary Queen of Scots. As bodies and clues pile up, the mystery and dangers deepen like the surrounding forests. Now ...
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The Hooded Hawke: An Elizabeth I Mystery

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This summer, Queen Elizabeth I is in no mood for games. She and her court were expecting to spend the warmer months lounging in great manor houses, feasting in the fields, tempting forbidden romance, and perhaps engaging in sport. But someone in the Queen's entourage isn't playing by the rules…and soon Elizabeth is dodging crossbows, longbows, and--worst of all--the threats of her greatest rival, Mary Queen of Scots. As bodies and clues pile up, the mystery and dangers deepen like the surrounding forests. Now Elizabeth must fearlessly confront her foes before she loses her crown--or her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Harper's fast-paced, suspenseful ninth historical (after 2005's The Fatal Fashione) finds Elizabeth I beset by Spanish antagonism at sea and by political rivals in England, especially the scheming Mary, Queen of Scots, and the rebellious northern lords. While on a summer outing in 1569 with her new ally, Francis Drake, an arrow barely misses Elizabeth, claiming the life of her falconer instead. After another arrow whizzes dangerously between the queen and her herbalist, her royal suspicions of a larger conspiracy solidify. She'll need all her wits and the assistance of her loyal servants to piece out who is the true target of the attacks. While the conceit of Elizabeth herself as an active sleuth requires some suspension of disbelief, readers who buy in will likely find themselves spellbound by the characters, plotting and plausible period detail. Harper is also the author of Inferno (Mass Market, p. 39). (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In her ninth appearance as the most improbable of Elizabethan detectives, Queen Elizabeth I must unravel a murder plot before she becomes its final victim. Summer 1569. The large retinue accompanying the Royal Progress of England's Queen includes her Catholic cousin Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who's secretly considering marriage to Elizabeth's rival, Mary Queen of Scots. At her first stop, Elizabeth and Francis Drake are narrowly missed by an arrow that kills her falconer. The attacks continue as they travel through country populated by clandestine supporters of Mary. Is the legendary bowman known as the Hooded Hawke out to kill Elizabeth, or is Francis Drake the target? Elizabeth dons Drake's spare armor as she tries to puzzle out who's really in danger. A trip aboard Drake's ship ends with an attack of fire arrows; once again Elizabeth and Drake barely escape. Although the Queen suspects Howard's treachery, it's a pillow stitched by Mary and hidden in Norfolk's digs that holds the key to the plot. After Elizabeth's look-alike herb mistress Meg Milligrew recovers the pillow, its coded message leads Elizabeth and Drake to an isolated church where a dangerous cat-and-mouse chase unmasks the traitor and sets in motion the events that lead to Mary's execution. Unlike some of Elizabeth's detail-rich cases (The Fatal Fashione, 2006, etc.), this one deftly integrates its appealing historical detail with a neatly turned mystery.
From the Publisher
Praise for Karen Harper and Her Elizabeth I Mystery Novels

The Hooded Hawke

"Deftly integrates its appealing historical detail with a neatly turned mystery."

- Kirkus Reviews

"Historical sophistication blends well with all the necessary elements of good mystery storytelling."

- Booklist

"Elizabeth is a lively heroine, and you'll have great fun traveling the countryside and dodging arrows with her and her entourage. There's enough history and mystery to keep lovers of both genres entertained."

- Romantic Times BOOKreviews

The Fatal Fashione

"Historical-mystery lovers…should rejoice at [Harper's] latest installment."

- Booklist

"Entertaining…. Harper skillfully interweaves fact and fiction, presenting a heroine who is as intelligent and gutsy a crime solve as she was a real-life monarch."

- Publishers Weekly

"Harper brings the period vividly to life, develops characters from the earlier tales, and makes the Virgin Queen a sympathetic, ambitious, and patriotic woman.... One soon is swept up in the rush of events in a turbulent time skillfully described. Recommended for all collections."

- Library Journal

The Fyre Mirror

"A truly vibrant protagonist, thoroughly satisfying characterization, attention to detail, and credible plotting mark this as an outstanding historical."

- Library Journal

"Fabulous…a thrilling reading experience…. Fans of the Ursula Blanches series by Fiona Buckley will definitely love this glimpse into a bygone era."

- Midwest Book Review

The Queene's Christmas

"Wonderful historical detail mixed with intrigue…a real treat for those who enjoy historical mysteries."

- Booklist

"Nicely blends intrigue, humor, and period detail."

- The Wall Street Journal

The Thorne Maze

"Harper is Tudor England's answer to V.I. Warshawski."

- Publishers Weekly

"Brilliantly plotted and authentically detailed."

- Booklist

"The novel's true pleasure is the re-creation of Elizabeth I's court, the manners of the day, the fêtes, the sumptuous clothes, all of which Harper brings wonderfully alive."

- Miami Herald

"Harper is to be commended for keeping to what we know about Tudor history…and for making the factions of Elizabeth's court clearer than many history books have done."

- Chicago Tribune

"A wonderful web of drama and deceit that would make Shakespeare envious…this is great stuff."

- Globe and Mail (Toronto)

The Queene's Cure

"A neatly plotted mystery with genuinely terrifying scenes."

- Publishers Weekly

"Fully rounded, sometimes baroque, but always engaging...the plot quickens to the very end."

- Booklist

"Superb…a winner."


"An Elizabethan fan's delight…[with] several red herrings that will delight the heart of mystery lovers."

- Romantic Times

"A thrilling blend of historical detail and intriguing mystery. [Harper's] Queen Elizabeth I possesses the fine detective's instinct of Sherlock Holmes."

- Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Hide

The Twylight Tower

"Harper's exquisite mastery of the period, lively dialogue, energetic plot, devious characters, and excellent rendition of the willful queen make this a pleasure for fans of historical mysteries."

- Library Journal

"The sleuthing is fun, but what makes The Twylight Tower comparable to the fine works of Allison Weir is the strong writing of the author."

- Midwest Book Review

The Tidal Poole

"A nice mix of historical and fictional characters, deft twists and a plucky, engaging young heroine enhance this welcome sequel."

- Publishers Weekly

"Harper delivers high drama and deadly intrigue...she masterfully captures the Elizabethan tone in both language and setting...Elizabethan history has never been this appealing."

- Newsday

The Poyson Garden

"Impressively researched...the author has her poisons and her historical details down pat."

- Los Angeles Times

"A walk side by side with one of history's most dynamic characters."

- Anne Perry, author of Slaves of Obssession

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429992374
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/27/2007
  • Series: Elizabeth I Mysteries , #9
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 262,318
  • File size: 387 KB

Meet the Author

Karen Harper

Karen Harper is the author of eight previous Elizabeth I mysteries, The Poyson Garden, The Tidal Poole, The Twylight Tower, The Queen’s Cure, The Thorne Maze, The Queene’s Christmas, The Fyre Mirror, and The Fatal Fashione. She also writes bestselling contemporary suspense novels. Karen lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida.
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Read an Excerpt

Though she was riding sidesaddle with but one hand holding the reins, Elizabeth Tudor spurred her horse to a faster gait, forcing the others to keep up with her. Her crimson hair spilled loose from her snood, her skirt flapped, and the hooded hawk perched on her leather-gauntleted hand spread her great gray wings as if to fly.
The queen was desperate to escape the palace, where problems proliferated like rabbits, or rather, she thought, like rats—perhaps even the sort that leave a leaking ship. She heaved a huge sigh.
“Your Grace, what’s amiss?” her dear friend Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who alone kept pace beside her, asked. “Do you feel well enough to test the new hawk?”
“Of course I do! I’ve led you a merry chase this far today.”
Even her longtime court favorite’s fervid attentions hardly helped her disposition, however dashing he looked ahorse. He was attired much too grandly for riding and flying her new gerfalcon, the breed fit for a king. Robert, whom she had called Robin all the years they had known each other, had given her the hawk as an early birthday gift. ’S blood, she was nearly thirty-six, she realized, and shook her head, which tumbled more tresses free.
With the excuse of testing the prowess of the bird, the queen had brought a small entourage on a morning’s robust ride. She could not wait for her summer progress through Surrey and Hampshire that she had just decided on last night. Though she’d chosen hosts for the journey who needed testing themselves, it always heartened her to be out among the common folk of England.
“This looks to be a good spot with a bit of open ground,” she announced as she reined in. “We shall fly Swift here.”
Being watchful to keep the bird facing the wind so she wouldn’t beat the air with her huge wings, the queen dismounted with Robin’s steady hand on her free arm and her loyal guard Jenks holding her horse. The queen’s handsome, young falconer, Fenton Layne, four other guards, and two of her ladies-in-waiting hastened to follow their sovereign’s lead.
St. James’s Park had most often been used by the Tudors to hunt deer; by ordering the surrounding marshes drained, her father, King Henry VIII, had created access to it near his country retreat of St. James’s Palace. Elizabeth seldom used the old redbrick edifice, but she loved the crooked, wooded lanes and ragged bits of open meadow. It was but a half hour’s ride from her main London palace of Whitehall, though she seldom managed a visit.
For each time she snagged a few hours for herself, more couriers came with news of Mary, Queen of Scots’s plotting, though Mary was now England’s “guarded guest” in the north of England. Or messengers rode in with word of Spanish hostilities on the seas. Worse, couriers conveyed rumors of possible rebellion in England, a future uprising led by her own northern lords, men who were entirely too close to Elizabeth’s Catholic cousin Mary in more ways than one. And almost every time William Cecil, her trusted chief secretary of state, called on her, it boded only bad news and dire dangers.
“The sun and wind feel good,” she told Robin. “I pray this mild weather continues as the court moves south next week. We’ll go first to Oatlands, then to Guildford and Farnham, even to the River Meon and clear to the south Channel. I seldom see the sea with its vast waters, fresh and free.”
“You’ve made a little sonnet upon it. Our queen is a poet and doesn’t know it,” he teased, obviously trying to lighten her mood, though, since she’d declared she would not wed him, Robin had moped about a great deal himself.
“I need diversion, it’s true,” she admitted quietly, so the others would not hear. “With all this wretched talk of attacks on our meager navy by those Spanish bullies who think they own the seas, I look forward to hearing from Captain Francis Drake. I shall send word he is to meet us at one of our destinations on the progress.”
“Rough, untutored sea dogs, all those captains from the west country,” Robin muttered, his tone taut. “Drake and his cousin John Hawkins—they’re all pirates at heart, so beware you do not trust or heed Drake overmuch.”
“Robin,” she said, as she stroked the gerfalcon’s gray back to calm her, “I swear, but you sound jealous—or envious.” She sighed again. “But I am envious, too. To be land-bound, England-bound, as I shall ever be, is right for a queen, but I would like not only to see the sea but go to sea.”
He hooted a laugh but stopped in midyelp when she glared at him. He quickly sobered. “It’s a hard life, Elizabeth,” he whispered, using her first name as he did only in their moments of privacy.
“ ’S blood and bones, everyone thinks I am coddled and spoiled, but I know much of a hard life, and you’ll not tease or gainsay me on that.”
She turned away from the others pressing close and put her hand to the feathered and tufted green felt hood that covered the hawk’s head. Instantly, her falconer, Fenton, broad-shouldered, blond, and blue-eyed, stepped forward to be ready to take it from her when she freed the bird to fly.
But before she snatched off the hood, she heard something that made her pause. Thunder on this clear day? No, hoofbeats, distant ones but coming closer. Swift sidestepped on her hand, still blinded by the hood and snared by the leather jesses that tethered the bird’s ankles to her fist. The small bells on the jesses jingled as the foot-and-a-half-tall bird of prey tensed in anticipation.
The queen frowned into the sun to see who approached. When she was young and exiled from her father’s court for being Anne Boleyn’s daughter, she had learned to fear a quick, unheralded approach by anyone, for it usually boded ill. Queen she might be, but some things still haunted her heart.
Robin, too, turned in the direction of the hoofbeats and covered his eyes to squint across the little meadow. Four riders burst from the line of trees. Behind her, Elizabeth heard Jenks and several others scrape their swords from their scabbards.
“It’s Cecil and his men,” she called to them, but her pulse did not stop pounding. “He must have news that could not wait.”
Still holding the hawk, Elizabeth strode to meet her chief advisor as he reined in several yards away. She recognized those with him, all Cecil’s underlings, a scrivener, two guards, and his favorite courier, Justin Keenan, a handsome man, who often rode back and forth with important documents between Cecil and the court when he was elsewhere on queen’s business.
“Bad news, my lord?” she called to him.
Though only forty-eight years of age, the man was out of breath, but then Cecil’s strength was in his intellect and loyalty, not his body. He was thin with a shovel-shaped brown beard, which was turning as silvery as frost.
“Only the news that you yourself created, Your Grace, in your suddenly ordering the court to prepare for a progress,” he got out in one ragged burst, bowing briefly before rising to face her eye to eye. “Before word reaches those I hear will be your hosts, I need to speak to you about the wisdom of it all.”
“Cecil, I am indeed going on my annual progress. I refuse to let either Englishman or foreigner think that threats to my kingdom rile me in the slightest, nor will my concerns about Queen Mary of Scots stop me. She is under my control, although I warrant she hardly realizes that yet, even if her dangerous allies mayhap do.”
“But to be out of the capital with the threat of the northern rebellion possibly exploding in support of a Catholic queen to replace you on the throne—”
“I am heading south, not north, dear Cecil. Granted, you must needs stay behind in London at least for some of the time, to keep an eye on that serpent of a new Spanish ambassador de Spes. And I am taking along my second-least favorite cousin, Thomas Howard—the great and grand and glorious Duke of Norfolk, at least in his own eyes. That way he can’t get into mischief with Mary or the fomenting rebellion, for I’ll have him tied to me like this,” she added, and lifted her wrist with the bird to show it was firmly tethered by the straps she held.
“But your plans to stay at both Loseley and Titchfield, hosted by Catholic hosts of highly questionable loyalty . . .” He cleared his throat, then lowered his voice even more. “I realize you have ever had a policy of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, but with the Spanish so on edge far too near our borders here or even in the New World—”
“I planned to explain it all to you when I returned after flying my new falcon. Look you, Cecil,” she said as she whipped the hood from the bird and, loosing the jesses, cast her skyward. Swift’s great wings spread as she leaped free, beating the air, circling to climb to a great, soaring height from which she would see and strike her prey.
The queen could tell Cecil still felt thwarted and overthrown. “Yes, Your Majesty,” he said, his voice hardly audible over the cheers of the others. “Not only do all your enemies make a fatal error if they believe you are off on a mere jaunt of summer diversions, but—” He stopped and hacked into his fist.
“But what?” she asked, as she watched the gerfalcon swoop like a shot toward some feckless prey they could not yet see.
“I was just thinking that, though that gauntlet is still on your hand, this supposedly carefree royal progress you propose is indeed throwing a gauntlet down in the face of all your enemies, be they English, Scottish, or Spanish.”
“And so, as ever, we understand, trust, and support each other perfectly, my Cecil.”
Pointing up at the diving hawk, she turned and shouted to everyone, “Look, Swift has already flushed something!” Lifting her skirts, with the others in pursuit, she set off at a run toward where the bird had plunged to earth for its kill.
Copyright © 2007 by Karen Harper. All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An exciting who-donr-iy

    In 1569 Queen Elizabeth I continues her effort to strengthen her control of throne while her prime rival Mary, Queen of Scots, and several northern lords brew rebellion. Though concerned over her safety, Elizabeth refuses to be a prisoner as she was when her late stepsister was queen. Accompanied by Francis Drake, she goes out on an outing, but someone tries to assassinate her killing her falconer instead. A second attack comes close to her while she consulted with her herbalist.------------------ Not one to sit around as a target, Elizabeth begins an investigation as to who is behind the attempts on her life as she suspects it is not the obvious suspects like Mary. She enlist her loyal servants and Francis to help her unravel the truth as she begins to suspect she is not the objective, but that someone else close to the crown is and the assailant also has to be in the inner royals circle. If her theory is wrong, a dead Elizabeth would be the proof.------------------ As always with this delightful sixteenth century mystery series, readers must accept Queen Elizabeth I as a private investigator extraordinaire. If one can accept that basic axiom, the exciting story line is fascinating as the audience obtains a deep look at Elizabethan England inside a cleverly devised whodunit with suspects galore.--------------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Ok book, but editing was done very badly

    The prologue was at the end of the last chapter, then quotes, then the Maps and "family trees", then "earlier events", then previous title, then the book reviews, THEN the epilogue. needs to be reviewed & re-editied w/ the correct placement

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2011

    Just when you think you know who done it. . . .

    If you are a fan of 16th century England and its history, this is a must read. Harper stays true to the period in just about every way with this mystery and gives it of forensic flair that's believeable for the period. I felt like I was a part of the story line and was helping to solve the mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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