After Queen Elizabeth I’s men kill 17-year-old Katherine Arundell’s father, Sir Richard, for practicing Catholicism in Protestant England, Katherine flees Cornwall for London. Aware that Richard was plotting regicide via mail, Katherine finds his coconspirators and joins them. Nineteen-year-old Tobias Ellis, a royal spy who intercepted one of Richard’s letters, is intent on preventing the queen’s assassination. Toby sets a trap, enlisting Shakespeare to write a seditious play, Twelfth Night, to be performed in front of the queen. Katherine takes the bait, posing as a boy, Christopher “Kit” Alban, to secure the part of Viola. Hoping to ferret out any aspiring murderers, Toby assumes the role of Orsino, but then he and “Kit” fall for each other, forcing both to question their convictions. Katherine and Toby’s alternating voices heighten the tension and drama. Although the book’s middle sags in between its harrowing start and nail-biting conclusion, Boecker (The King Slayer) creates complex characters and a rich historical setting in a story that explores religious extremism, self-identity, and the blindness of love. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn't the only secret he's been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and to take it one step further kill the queen herself.
Katherine's opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare's newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn't know is that the play is not just a play. It's a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.
The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play's leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.
Praise for An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason:
A Kirkus 2018 Best Book of the Year
"An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason is a thrilling, immersive romp through Shakespeare's London, and all the intrigue, alliances, and politics that shaped it. Helmed by two feisty leading players who I fell in love with as they fell for each other, and with snappy, energetic prose that will appeal to both fans of historicals and contemporaries, there's something here for everyone. I devoured this book with ravenous joy. Bravo!"Mackenzi Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
* "A scrumptious slice of history. The conflicts of religion, sexuality, class, and gender identity are apropos to contemporary times. Victor, Victoria and Shakespeare in Love: Meet your thrilling new sister. Or brother."Kirkus (starred review)
"Between its harrowing start and nail-biting conclusion, Boecker (The King Slayer) creates complex characters and a rich historical setting in a story that explores religious extremism, self-identity, and the blindness of love."Publishers Weekly
"A satisfying blend of early modern spycraft and stagecraft...suspense and romance...[A] breathless, satisfying romp."BCCB
"A fast-paced historical mystery rich in period detail that also explores gender and sexuality. A great buy."SLJ
"Shatters gender stereotypes...Historical fiction meets young adult literature in this suspenseful story about two "star-crossed" lovers who face seemingly insurmountable odds to be together."VOYA
"[Virginia Boecker] paints a thrilling picture of Tudor England with all the intrigue, romance, and danger a lover of historical fiction could want."Sharon Biggs Waller, author of The Forbidden Orchid and A Mad, Wicked Folly
"Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason is an engrossing story of love and intrigue, with a rich atmosphere that takes you back in time and a cast of historical characters that stay with you long after you've finished. I couldn't put it down!"Alexis Bass, author of Love and Other Theories
"Assassins, spies, a forbidden romance, a plot to kill the queen, and secrets aplentyall centering around Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Be still my Shakespeare-loving fangirl heart."Angela Mann, Kepler's Books, Menlo Park CA
"An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason is the Shakespeare book I've been waiting for. Boecker cleverly intertwines classic Shakespearean tropes with a story that feels fresh and original. In addition to revolving around Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, it has the spirit and fun of A Knight's Tale and a charm all its own. It instantly found a place on my all time favorites shelf."Rachel Strolle, Anderson's Bookshop Naperville
Praise for The Witch Hunter and The King Slayer:
A YALSA 2016 Teens Top Ten Nominee
* "An explosive cocktail of high-stakes adventure... "PW (starred review)
"This book is perfect for lovers of Cashore's Graceling and Maas's Throne of Glass...."VOYA
"A fun, corpse-ridden, blood-drenched debut."April Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
"Sassy and smart, this page-turning fantasy is full of action, wit, and magic. I ate it up in one sitting and demand more...now!"Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of Across the Universe and The Body Electric
Gr 9 Up—A tale of spies and plots set near the end of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. After witnessing her father's death during a raid on their Catholic home, Katherine flees their estate disguised as a boy. She vows to avenge her father's death by carrying out a plan to assassinate the Queen. Tobias, a former printer and apprentice to Christopher Marlowe, is part of Sir Carey's spy and cryptography network. Aware of the plot, he and Carey collaborate with Shakespeare on a new play for the Queen called Twelfth Night, to draw out those involved. Katherine, passing as teen boy Kit, auditions for the play to gain access to the Queen. An attraction between Toby and Kit develops as they rehearse their roles, which complicates everything. The narrative alternates between Katherine's and Toby's perspectives. Questions of gender and identity are explored as Katherine enjoys the freedoms she has in her new gender. Toby knew he was attracted to men, but realizes he might be bisexual. The tension mounts as they perform for the Queen, and a plot change jeopardizes both of them. The ending is surprising with room for a sequel. VERDICT A fast-paced historical mystery rich in period detail that also explores gender and sexuality. A great buy for any library.—Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
A spy for the queen and a vengeful Catholic intent on regicide bend genders and battle their lovesick hearts in Elizabethan England.When Katherine's father (a Catholic and therefore heretic) is killed by order of Queen Elizabeth I, Katherine escapes and, assuming the male identity of Kit Alban, stage actor, vows to avenge his death. Toby is a royal spy, intercepting coded letters, unraveling secrets, and unveiling traitors (it was his skill that unearthed Katherine's father's plot to kill the queen). Besotted with power and Toby's dreamy blue eyes, HRH enlists him to ensnare her would-be-assassin. His solution? Bait the zealot with a role in Twelfth Night, to be performed mere feet from the monarch. Kit and a team of co-conspiring Catholics bite, arming Kit with a dagger and little hope for escape. Enter stage right: unexpected attraction between Toby and Kit. The first-person, present-tense dual narration of Kit/Katherine and Toby shows their tandem turmoil of pretense: hiding true missions, veiling sexual identity and orientation (Toby is bisexual), simultaneously hoping to actualize and be unfettered from their mutual affection. Though the author's note declares liberties in storytelling, the meticulous design and execution make it read as a scrumptious slice of history. The conflicts of religion, sexuality, class, and gender identity are apropos to contemporary times.Victor, Victoria and Shakespeare in Love: Meet your thrilling new sister. Or brother. (author's note, maps, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)