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Elizabeth: The Golden Age
     

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

4.4 11
by Tasha Alexander
 

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The reign of Queen Elizabeth I was a time of war, passion, and spectacular achievement. Elizabeth: The Golden Age finds Elizabeth facing bloodlust for her throne and familial betrayal. Growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late sixteenth-century Europe, Elizabeth faces an open challenge from the Spanish King Philip II, who

Overview

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I was a time of war, passion, and spectacular achievement. Elizabeth: The Golden Age finds Elizabeth facing bloodlust for her throne and familial betrayal. Growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late sixteenth-century Europe, Elizabeth faces an open challenge from the Spanish King Philip II, who is determined to restore England to Catholicism with his powerful army and dominating armada.

Preparing to go to war to defend her empire, Elizabeth struggles to balance ancient royal duties with an unexpected vulnerability: her love for the seafarer Sir Walter Raleigh. But he remains forbidden for a queen who has sworn body and soul to her country.

Yet as she charts her course abroad, treachery is the rot behind the glittering royal throne. Her most trusted adviser uncovers an assassination plot that could topple the throne, and the traitors may even include Elizabeth's own cousin Mary Stuart.

Based on the sequel to the Academy Award®-winning Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age tells the thrilling tale of an era—the story of one woman's crusade to control love, crush enemies, and secure her position as a beloved icon of the Western world.

Editorial Reviews

"Best of Nashville"
“Smart, funny and lovely, the stories Alexander crafts are almost as intriguing as the one she lives.”
Best of Nashville
"Smart, funny and lovely, the stories Alexander crafts are almost as intriguing as the one she lives."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061859502
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/24/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
519,266
File size:
519 KB

Read an Excerpt

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Chapter One

England had never before had a queen like her. Elizabeth was striking in appearance—fine red hair fell down her back and her pale complexion glowed—but it was her sharp intellect and quick wit that made her a queen worthy of her country. Her subjects were well-versed in the story of her tumultuous journey to the throne and admired her tenacity and her straightforward manner, never for a moment suspecting she was presenting them with a carefully crafted image of enduring strength.

"It's not safe." Lord Howard, second Baron of Effingham and cousin of the queen, spoke in a low, insistent tone as the royal barge glided along the Thames toward Whitehall Palace, a sprawling thousand-room castle that served as Elizabeth's official home in London. Concern chiseled deep in the creases of Howard's face, skin weathered by a youth spent at sea. "I tell you plainly, you will be murdered."

"You would have me stay always in the palace, protected by an ocean of guards," Elizabeth said. She hated the very idea of it. It would be like a paralyzing death. "Never come among my people. I will not do that. They must see me."

"Every Catholic in England is a potential assassin," he said.

"And I will not be held hostage by imagined threats of violence."

"If your stance on the Catholic threat were harder—"

"I have said it before: I refuse to make windows into men's souls," she replied, watching the boat's bright silk canopy flutter as her rowers pulled, their oars rising and falling in perfect time. "There is only one Jesus Christ, and the rest is a dispute overtrifles."

The banks of the river were teeming with people, most of them smiling, waving, delighted to find themselves in such close proximity to their queen. Even the lower classes, living in poverty, adored her. To the wealthy and the new merchant class her policies brought more tangible benefits, not only monetary but intellectual, as education spread and new schools were built. And as English explorers set off for the New World, the boundaries of the beginnings of what might become an empire grew along with a heightened sense of excitement and possibility. London itself was a city brimming with opportunity.

Among the throngs of devoted subjects cheering the royal party no one took notice of two men—Anthony Babington and John Savage—who looked more intently than the rest, who stared with no admiration but hid their malice carefully as they faded into the crowd with little effort.

"Do you ever feel nervous?" Savage asked, watching the crowd. "About what we'll face if anyone discovers us?"

"It's quite a policy, isn't it?" Babington kicked at the dirt beneath his shoes. "Stay quiet and let the Protestant fools mislead the people and we won't kill you." The Catholic minority had been warned against irritating the queen lest she turn the sword of justice on them. Those who stayed out of politics and drew no attention to themselves were safe. The rest faced torture and the scaffold. "We're doing God's work. It is the queen who puts herself in a dangerous position by adopting heretical views."

"Yes. She must die." Savage hoped his companion did not detect the fear in his voice.

"And if it is God's will that she die, why should I be scared of the consequences for myself?" Babington asked. "If we are caught, the heretics will make us glorious martyrs. That is something I could never fear."

Savage swallowed hard. He agreed, in theory, with everything Babington said, but was finding the reality of it slightly harder to accept. He'd heard too many stories of joints dislocated by the rack, men crushed by the scavenger's daughter. And he'd seen firsthand what hours of hanging by the wrists did to his father. There was no mercy to be found in the Tower of London. These thoughts scared him, so he prayed, and God restored his focus, and they continued along the river, planning the details of the attack they hoped would change their world.

The boat had reached Whitehall, north of Westminster Palace. Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, had extensively renovated the medieval palace, adding tiltyards for tournaments and tennis courts, creating for himself a perfect royal playground. The waters of the Thames lapped against the Privy Stairs as the queen's party disembarked to walk through mazes of courtyards and buildings whose very structure was designed to reflect the hierarchy of the court. Public rooms came first, but the farther one delved into the palace, the fewer people were admitted through the guarded doors. At the end were the queen's private apartments, where only a select few were ever allowed.

Elizabeth stalked into the Privy Chamber, within whose stone walls the business of the realm was conducted, where her most trusted advisors, her Privy Council, surrounded her. Sir Francis Walsingham had been ambassador to France before his appointment as principal secretary over foreign and domestic concerns, but he was also her spymaster, coordinating all covert operations. She'd given him the nickname Moor because of the dark tone of his olive skin, and he'd become a friend.

"Is this what I'm to expect today?" Elizabeth asked him as she entered the room. "Endless talk of religious discord?" She knew it was unavoidable, that the fervent beliefs of her subjects, both Protestant and Catholic, could tear England apart. It was the same bloody battle raging across Europe, a battle set in motion when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and hardly slowed even by the implacable violence of the Spanish Inquisition.

"It is necessary, Majesty," Walsingham said. "But there is another matter—"

She saw the papers in his hands and cut him off. "Not now, Moor. We'll discuss it later. Much later." He had brought her another petition begging her to choose a husband—she'd recognized it at once. Marriage and religion, the two favorite topics of her ministers, the least favorite of hers. She liked to say that her father, who'd taken six wives, had married enough for both of them, but she alone appreciated the humor of this statement. "Let me deal with Howard and his concerns."

Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Copyright © by Tasha Alexander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

When not reading, Tasha Alexander can be found hard at work on her next book featuring Emily Ashton.

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Elizabeth: The Golden Age 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
MsDollie More than 1 year ago
Excellent fiction. Will likely enjoy reading a second time and definitely recommend to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like Tudor England its fun but not historically accurate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would definately suggest this book.
Angela Meadows More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was historically educational and entertaining. I recommend it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER! Although in some parts it's slightly inapropriet it dosn't go into it too much. I would recamend this book any one who loves action and can sympothise with the emotions of the moder woman. a must read
harstan More than 1 year ago
King Philip of Spain believes he is doing God¿s work although he loathes cutting down trees to make the ships he needs to return Europe back to the true Catholic God he considers his mission is to save the soul of England, his late wife¿s country. With the heretic Elizabeth on the throne, he plots to replace her with her guest prisoner of twenty years, Queen Mary Stuart.--------------------- Captain Walter Raleigh has docked his ship the Tyger in London for repairs. With him are two natives from the New World, whom he hopes to introduce to the Queen. Walter wants her backing to set up a settlement at Roanoke Island in what he calls Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth.------------ As she does every Sunday, Elizabeth walks from the Presence Chamber to the Chapel Royal so that her people can see her. However, this time Walter steps out of the crowd and puts his cloak down so she would not step in a puddle. Later after rejecting her advisors latest marital scheme to prevent a French-Spanish alliance, she has her favorite lady in waiting Bess Throckmorten brings Walter to her. The Spanish ambassador Guerau calls Walter a pirate, but he mentions a colony and introduces her to his friends and tobacco. Walter has begun his efforts to obtain her Highness¿ patronage even as he and Bess fall in love while Phillip launches the Armada.------------ This is a terrific character driven biographical fictional account of Queen Elizabeth, who comes across as a powerful queen with state and personal problems. Readers will obtain an incredible insight into the mind pf King Phillip of Spain who believes God is on his side as well as a deeper look at Raleigh than the usual romanticized popular version of a cloak dropper. The rest of the cast also is fully developed as Tasha Alexander provides a wonderful novelization of the upcoming sequel to the award winning film Elizabeth.-------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is an all day chat room just search chat and click the first result. This chat room is only on july 2nd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I plop on the couch and sigh.