During the annual celebration of the Order of the Garter, Sir Michael Devereaux arrives in King Henry VIII's court on a mission for his benefactor. The celebration's endless feats and sumptuous women delight the charismatic newcomer, who becomes captivated by the enigmatic Princess Renée of France. But evil, it seems, has followed Michael to the court. Shortly after his arrival, an unknown killer claims several victims, including the Queen's lady-in-waiting, and the powerful Cardinal Wolsey asks Michael to help with the investigation. As he searches for the killer, Michael is haunted by disturbing images of the victims--flashes of violence that lead him to doubt his own sanity. Michael soon realizes that the key to solving the crime is connected to both the Pope's Imperial vault in Rome and a mystery from Michael's own past--revealing a secret that is so damning, it could forever alter the future of mankind.
Powerfully evocative and steeped with detail from the breathtaking era of the Tudors, Royal Blood is historical storytelling at its richest--an unforgettable tale of intrigue, passion, and danger.
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By RONA SHARON
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
Chapter One In front-a precipice; Behind-wolves. -an ancient Roman aphorism
Tiltyard at Castle Tyrone, Ireland, 1518
The command was followed by a clap of thunder. Michael slammed his visor shut and stormed into combat. Rain sheeted the marshy, torchlit lists, rendering him near blind. After hours of training, his arms throbbed from holding the lance and shield, his leg muscles burned with the effort of keeping his hot-blooded destrier at a straight gallop. The earth shook beneath the thundering stallions as mighty hoofs plowed through sludge. Dreading the collision and despising his fear, Michael couched his lance at his sinister opponent, armored in black steel cap-à-pie and bearing down on him like a dark chthonic force.
Aim low, then at the last moment strike the helm, the Earl of Tyrone's instructions resounded in Michael's head. Strike the helm, the helm ...
The shocking blow to his own helmet prized Michael out of the saddle. He crashed into the squelchy ground, whence he had risen moments before, in an ungainly heap of armored limbs.
Mud splotched the grille of his visor as massive hoofs reached his sprawled form and reared up, threatening to fossilize him in the midden. With an oath, Michael recoiled on capped elbows and spurs, glaring up at Sir Ferdinand, Lord Tyrone's shadow. "Blood from a stone!" the raspy voice mocked him. The raven visor turned toward the shrouded figure observing the joust from a recess inside the barbican. "Your incompetent sunflower is not ready! He will never be ready!"
Michael felt murderous. Yes, he had lost, again. But he could cudgel Ferdinand for drubbing him and then deprecating him to the great lord who had reared him as his own son and legal heir. Only killing Sir Ferdinand would be akin to slaying a mountain; the knight was indestructible.
Michael fell back on the pulpy alluvium, exhausted and dispirited. Rain drummed his visor; cool rivulets sluiced his face. The storm was gathering force. Dusk bled into night. Squinting at the donjon, its diamond panes glowing brightly beneath the darkening welkin, he fancied a long hot bucking by a roaring fire, a flagon of mulled wine, a juicy hunch of mutton, a pliant wench ...
The terse order sliced through his aching head, jolting his battered bones. The varlets' strong hands hauled him up and set him aright. He wrenched himself free from their steadying grip and trudged, clanking, to the end of the course. Pippin, his manservant, bridled his horse. Archangel snorted, shook its armored head, and stomped its feet in protest, fetlocks deep in mud.
Michael gentled the destrier with petting and praise. "One last time, and we will have done, O great one. My word upon it."
He swung onto his weary horse with a metallic clang, his muscles groaning at the ongoing torture like rheumatic joints on a withered nun. Pippin handed him the lance and buckler with his usual word of encouragement. "You will fell him this time, master. I know you will."
"The left shoulder." Michael eyed his complacent adversary. "He protects his heart."
"A delicate heart, eh? Forsooth, that is a point in his favor, for I doubted he had one."
"Aye, 'tis black as his suit of armor-and his soul."
"God smite him," Pippin muttered scathingly.
Michael steered Archangel to the starting line. The signal was given, and he was hurtling up the rain-battered course at full tilt, the sloughy ground quaking beneath Archangel's hoofs. The heart, the heart, Michael thought, focusing on the magnificently wrought black breastplate.
A heartbeat later, he was on his back in the muddy puddles. His left shoulder hurt as if it had been ripped from his body. He shut his eyes tightly. He felt ... routed, peppered, unworthy.
Sir Ferdinand drew rein, laughing viciously. "Mind your own heart next time, sunflower!"
The authoritative voice in the tower rumbled, "Put him on his feet and bring him to me!"
Michael, divested of his armor and a good deal of aplomb, leaked mud at the threshold to the castle's eyrie at the top of the bastion. His noble protector's preferred haunt was constructed after the Pantheon in Rome, an architectural marvel with a rounded dome and a skylight carved out of its center that formed an interior waterfall when it rained. A gilt gridiron set in the black marble floor drained the rainwater into the support pillar around which the tower stairwell spiraled and straight into the castle's water reservoir. Here, the Earl of Tyrone, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and England's bulwark against a Celtic uprising, came to study the heavens through his teleskopos.
A plethora of horn lanterns set in the rotund wall paid homage to marble busts of gods and emperors and to the arms man had wielded on battlefields since the birth of time: The twenty foot long sarissa Alexander the Great conquered Asia withal; the Roman gladius that taught the old Greek world Latin; the francisca that shattered the shields of the legionaries and catapulted the Roman Empire into darkness; the crushing Norse mjolnir, the bane of the Saxons, the Celts, the Franks, and the Iberians; the Mongol short bow that kept vast territories under Genghis Khan's thumb; and Don Álvaro de Zúñiga's innovative espada ropera, the light blade ushering the future.
Tonight, as it rained, instead of standing beneath the center skylight, training a rock crystal on a comet, the earl prowled round the cascade. "Trounced today, battered yesterday, and barely held your own with the sword the day before. You outwit your tutors in every discipline. Why can you not outmaneuver Sir Ferdinand in combat? The annual chapter of the Noble Order of the Garter approaches, Michael. My honor is at stake here, as is the future of my house!"
Michael shifted restlessly, his gaze on his toecaps, his conscience trammeled by unpalatable failure. It took all he had to drudge up the galling admission. "He is stronger."
"Brains carry a man further than might, Michael! It would behoove you to know this!"
Setting his jaw, Michael lifted his eyes. "He knows my next move before I make it."
"Then outthink him, damn you! Can you not keep your thoughts under lock and key? Must the secrets of your mind be an open tome? Did I waste two decades of my life teaching you the quadrivium, training and instructing you in the games of kings to be thusly disillusioned?"
Michael remained silent.
"Ferdinand knows that the future of my house depends upon you. He pushes you to excel."
Michael bristled. "He pushes me to commit murder, my lord."
"Alas, my only son was destroyed on a foreign battlefield years gone, and the gods have not blessed me with other offspring-until you came along. Your noble sire, who fought like a lion and died for his king at Blackheath during the Cornish rebellion, had sworn me to take his son, begotten off a second wife, and raise him as I would mine own, for fear his heir would reject a half sibling. He did not swear me to embrace you to my loving bosom and set you up as my legal heir, but I saw a bright-eyed lad, quick and sharp and steeled. I thought, 'Here be my son, here be the man unto whom I shall bequeath my lands, chattels, and the honor of my name, my heart and soul and all that I am! Here be my future'!" The earl circled the waterfall, hands clasped behind his back. "I did not expect you to fell Sir Ferdinand. He is stronger, a bloody-minded bull who would sooner crush a lit candle than snuff it out. He has fought a thousand battles and lived. I expected you to persist! To take his blows and jolt his confidence! That was the point of the exercise! Now you come to me with your head downcast, all pity-pleading and beaten ..."
Stoically Michael straightened his back. He had his lord's inches now, yet, heart-burned, he felt shorter than a mouse. Tyrone gazed at him grumpily, fondly. "Ferdinand has his weaknesses, greater than yours. I want you to attend this year's knightly chapter. It is important to me."
Michael blinked in surprise. "You would still send me to court?"
"I would send a champion!" Tyrone's dark eyes glinted. "Swift, cunning, and ruthless in his devotion to me! Indomitable. Unstoppable. Relentless. Are you this man? Or has the precocious boy I have nurtured to become the Seventh Earl of Tyrone traded his tiger spots for a plumule?"
Michael sensed without being told that his lord and mentor expected more than words from him, an assurance of sorts, some proof of his commitment and wherewithal.
"The greatest battles are not won on battlefields, Michael. They are predetermined in council chambers and ladies' beds, in courtly banquets and tournaments, in the nursery and ... up here!" He tapped his temple with a finger. "An illustrious general may win the battle and lose the war. In contrast, a downtrodden soldier who takes the worst punishment and rallies for another battle will triumph in the end. Remember the Battle of Cannae, Michael. When the Carthaginian army led by Hannibal slaughtered Varro's army on Italian soil, the Romans, incapable of stomaching defeat, withdrew, recovered, and returned at full strength to ultimately obliterate Carthage to all eternity. Survival is the key. If beaten, retreat, regroup, and rally-and never ever give!"
"Give what, my lord?"
"Give up, give in, give out ... Never! Till your last drop of blood! Do you understand?"
"I do." Michael swallowed. "Command me to London, my lord. I will do you credit."
"You will pledge it? You will do for me as I did for you?"
"More. I swear it."
"Upon your honor, you will serve none but me and let not temptation lead you astray?"
"Temptation, my lord? What could possibly tempt me to violate my pledge to you?"
Tyrone's mouth twisted wryly. "Think you I am ignorant of how you soothe your mind and body at night? You spill your vigor into wenches and souse your head with wine. You grin?"
Michael schooled his features. He could have sworn he had curbed the very emergence of a grin. Yet his lord was a master at diving thoughts. "I had as lief die than fail you, my lord."
"Attend me, Michael. The rule at court is simple: Enthrall but do not love; be loved but do not become any man or woman's thrall. Be a Spartan in an Athenian pelt, or all will be lost."
"I know my duty." Michael drew his dagger and knelt before the earl. "In blood I pledge my ever-binding fealty to you." He fisted the sharp-edged blade and was about to wrench it hard.
"Spare your hand. You will have need of it." Tyrone seized the dagger and walked over to a table laden with a gold chalice. "Come. Let us observe the proper rite of initiation. My son."
Pain and desiccation harbingered the sunrise. Michael came awake parched, sweaty, and in a state of excruciating agony. He shivered violently with cold, his skin burned, his heart palpitated madly, his brain screamed in torment, as if a thousand heated pokers cut through his flesh, and he was overcome with irrational terror. A roar of anguish tore from his throat to echo throughout the vaulted passageways, halls, staircases, and chambers of the vast castle.
The door to his bedchamber opened. Cáit, the pretty maid he bedded on occasion, rushed in to light candles. Pippin barrowed in an iron casket on a pulley and left it by the bedside. An old man marched over to examine Michael. He wore a black houppelande, a hoary beard masked half his face, silvery hair flew down his back. Dark eyes gleamed at Michael. "Hold him down!" he told the servants. "Laddy, my name is Donough O'Hickey. I will make you well again."
Michael thrashed wildly, flinging battle-hardened limbs pellmell and arching fitfully off the mattress. Semidelirious, he fought the invisible hellhounds tearing him to shreds from the inside out like a baited bear. His two attendants lost the battle in restraining him.
"Jesu, he is burning up!" cried Cáit.
The old man took charge with superior strength. He jabbed one of Michael's eyelids open, felt his forehead, and probed at his mouth. "As I thought, food poisoning, same as His Lordship."
"Food poisoning?" Cáit exclaimed disbelievingly. "Looks more like the Sweat to me."
"I will give him a physic to cleanse his bowels of venom. Leave us. You may return later to clean him up. But mind, his ailment may not pass for a sennight. Food and drink are prohibited. He may only drink my physic until he is fit."
Michael howled in frustration. "Seven nights like this?" Cursing at the violent pain ravaging his mind and body, he glared at the old healer and growled, "Get this thing out of me now!"
Cáit patted his arm tentatively. "My dearest lord-"
"Come away, Cáit. Master O'Hickey knows his business." Pippin towed her out, the mere mention of the sweating sickness sprouting wings on his back.
The Irish healer removed a precious Italian glass bottle from the casket. "Alack, the serving wench had the right of it. I did not care to stir up panic and mayhem, for you and His Lordship are afflicted with the sweating sickness. This is the second stage of the disease. Cold shivers, aches and burns, apprehension, perspiration, delirium, megrim, heart palpitations, and intense thirst."
"The Sweat!" Michael lunged up, mad with terror. "You dotant! Why conceal the truth from my servants? They will infect the vill! Have you no care for babes, Celtic tinker?"
"Fables! The contagion is in the blood. The old sages knew it, but their wisdom was torched by savages. The disease is venerius virulentus. Know you Latin? What is virus, lordling?"
"Poison," Michael chocked, agitated, feverish.
"Precisely. You have consumed natural venom that had been put in your food, such as blood of a sickly rodent. See, I was partially untruthful with the tasty wench. You cannot infect others with your breath. Nor with skin contact. The illness lives within you. Your blood is dying. If it is not treated, you will perish in three days. Recovery may take seven nights. What is your choice?"
"Life!" A stab of pain arched Michael off the bed. When it subsided, icy tremors seized him.
"Interesting. That is the usual preference among my patients." The motley-minded O'Hickey shoved a hand beneath Michael's head and put the mouth of the bottle to his lips. "Drink this."
Panting, Michael complied. His first gulp of the medicament nearly ripped the inside of his throat. "Hell's broth! What is it? Blood and uisce?" Instantly he craved more.
"The blood of Grendel's mum! He-he-he ... Lick your throat, did it?" O'Hickey cackled. "It is dragon's blood, a cordial of sweet wines, crushed pearls, lead powder, marshmallows, salt of Amen, coral, elder leaves, sorrel, linseed vinegar, worms, marigold, meadow plant, feverfew-"
"Enough!" The old rook's imbecility of mind was exacerbating his sufferance.
"Certes, if my potion is not to your taste, I could leech you. That is what they did last year in London when the plague smote them. They bled the sick three days afore they burned them."
Michael snatched the glass bottle and drained it in a long swallow. Sweetness suffused him. He fell back on the pillow, gasping for air, and closed his eyes as the palliative effect of the thick brew spread through his tormented body, soothing his flesh, his mind, his spirit ...
"You will want to sleep now, little lord, but harken well. My lord of Tyrone says you are to England for the St. George's tournaments."
"I doubt I will partake of aught but my own funeral ..." Michael heaved.
"In a sennight you will be as good as new. Better than new. You have a casketful of bottles and will need every drop to carry you through your adventures. Once a day you will have a fierce thirst on you, mayhap twice. Drink and be merry but do not let anyone find you out, nor transfer the contents into another vessel, for the elements will lose their curative qualities if not contained in glass. You may feed and drink properly but do not wet your drouth with aught else."
Michael realized the dotard had the right of it. None could know he had the plague, not even Pippin, who was to accompany him to court. His thoughts drifted. Through the mist he heard the Irishman say, "Ah, the forest of dreams beckons, and the worst to affright now lives within...."
Michael's eyes flicked open at the sharp pricking at his gullet. Darkness filled his vision, but within two heartbeats he gained focus. A polished blade of a sword reflected silvery moonbeams. A shadowy form loomed over his bed. "Cockcrow in two hours, sunflower," Ferdinand informed him, malevolence thickening his raspy voice. "King Henry's court awaits your incompetence."
Excerpted from Royal Blood by RONA SHARON Copyright © 2009 by Rona Sharon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I LOVED this book! Such a pleasure to read! I can't remember the last time I lost myself in such a terrific tale of passion, danger, and sophisticated intrigue. The characters were great and unique. Very interesting and appealing. The heroine in particular was extraordinary. Sharp, strong, feminine, beautiful, and so likable. Usually romantic heroines get on my nerves. Not Princess Renee. I rooted for her from the get-go. Her life is on the line, so instead of whining about it, she jumps into the shark pool that is the Tudor court of Henry VIII and does the impossible. She is scared but she does it anyway, with intelligence and determination. Her only problem is that she falls in love with her worst enemy. Completing her dangerous mission and keeping the love of her life at the same time is an insurmountable challenge. I was furiously turning the pages to find out if she'll make it in the end. Michael is magnificent. It is very rare to find an alpha male hero in romance who is never a jerk, remains likable throughout the book, doesn't need to lecture the heroine about her silliness (because Renee is not silly) and falls for a worthy female lead. Their story kept me on my toes to the very last word. I didn't want the book to end. It was that good. This book is a treasure, written with carefully researched details of the period, by a super talented author. I loved it.
Excellent read, fast and engaging. Every reviewer raves about the originality of Royal Blood. This is why: 1. The storyline is creative and fast-paced. Every page offers new twists and revelations up to the very end. 2. The characters have presence and depth. Each has a closet full of shocking secrets and a riveting personal story. Michael and Renee are complex, worthy, unpredictable protagonists. They won my respect. 3. The paranormal elements get a fresh historical background, straight out of the Kabalah. This surprised me and grabbed my attention. Usually I avoid vampire books. Romantic, quirky, young adult vampires are a big yawn for me. However, in Royal Blood, I discovered that vampires had been mentioned in the most highly respected ancient texts. So even a non-believer like me got to enjoy the supernatural for a change. 4. The Tudor Court of Henry VIII is brought to life. I read all of the Boleyn and the Elizabeth I books and never got a real sense of place. 100 pages into Royal Blood, this reader was engaged in feasts, hunts, and in the everyday life of the royal and noble families as well as of the less fortunate people who lived on the wrong side of the tracks. What I liked most was that instead of long, dry descriptions, the details were woven into the story and the reader gets a sense of everything. Finally I have to say that this book was fun to read. I learned new things and got to enjoy an exciting roller-coaster ride.
What is the ultimate prize, love or glory? And to what lengths will mortals and otherworldly creatures go to obtain one or both of the aforesaid rewards? Sir Michael Deveraux is sent from Ireland to the English Court of King Henry VIII with a mission to be achieved through cunning, military might and wisdom, undiverted by carnal lust or the excessive trappings of pleasure present in the Tudor Court. But Michael has severe doubts due to the fact that he has so often been bested by his teachers of the military arts. His father, however, knows that Michael possesses all he needs to succeed. However, Michael is very ill-prepared for the carnal and political machinations he is about to encounter. Princess Renee of France, shamed by her brief dalliance with a common painter, is also being sent to France. The Princess, it appears throughout the entire story, is far smarter than the royal fools she pretends to serve, but even she is about to have all of her abilities tested beyond her present knowledge and experience. Her powers of control will be stretched to the limit! King Henry of England is a very busy man! When he is not bedding the female members of his court, outside of good Queen Katherine's sight, he must contend with scheming English nobles and embattled Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, all vying for greater power and ties to the royal family and Rome. The real is about to be accentuated with the death of one of King Henry's lovers, who is also the sister of a high-ranking nobleman. This lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine is murdered by someone evil beyond belief, possessed of a supernatural darkness that will frighten both characters in the story and those who are furiously turning the pages to find out the next revelation in this nail-biting, stunning thriller! Add an evolving lusty passion between a couple who vacillate between fearsome loathing and passionate, magnetic love for each other. The story also contains a large amount of richly described culture regarding this sixteenth century time period, pertaining to dress, food, religious festivals, and theological tenets of this notable time, taking place when England remained within the Roman Catholic fold. Rona Sharon has penned one of the most unusual historical fiction novels this reviewer has ever read and stretches the reader's participation and belief in a wholly new style for this genre! Fascinating reading! Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on April 14, 2009
Arcane secrets, a dangerous princess on a life-threatening mission, a super-hot knight with many secrets, and Tudor court plots--what's not to like? This book takes a bit to get rolling, but once it does, it's worth it. I devoured it!!! Amazing!!! Great ending, too.
I read the book in one sitting; I just couldn't put it down. It was that good. Rona Sharon's writing is exciting, fast paced, rich in detail, and brings tudor court history to life in a way that surpasses even the best movies and television series. You can close your eyes and 'see' the story. If you love movies, this book is for you. And if you love good historical fiction, this book really is for you. As the story unfolded in the most unexpected, original ways, I fell in love with the two main characters, Michael and princess Renee de Valois. The characters are romantic, exciting, smart, intelligent and have a sense of humor. They are as exciting as the most fantastic characters in fiction, but their actions feel right and make total sense. The ending was extremely satisfying and I felt that everything in the book fell into place. Princess Renee uses all of her senses and abilities to succeed in the secret and potentially fatal mission she was forced into. Although a very young princess, she is no pushover and is able to navigate the devious ways of the french and tudor courts in ways you least expect her to. What really caught me unawares, was the vampire twist in the plot. It was a welcome shock which gave the whole story a new perspective, and unveiled hidden layers all the way to a smash-hit ending.
It is rare and refreshing to find such high quality of writing in romance. Royal Blood is amazingly well written. I stayed up the whole night reading this book. I couldn't put it down until I've read every gripping, steamy page. Michael's entry into the court had me laughing out loud and really set the pace for a fantastic story. Then, in the following scene, when he meets the French Princess Renee in the undercroft and they both witness a plot to assassinate the king being set in motion by England's most powerful nobles, I knew I was in for a brilliant adventure. I was not disappointed. This book rocks! The vampires prowling the court added originality and suspense to an already phenomenal book. Ms. Sharon brings home a winner! Can't wait for her next book to come out.
I admit I was skeptical about reading a romance when first introduced to this book. However, the book was much more than that. The plot was intermingled with historical details and many exciting and unexpected twists. The book really made an impression on me, especially the vamps taking over the second half. I could not put this book down. Even if you don't normally read romance books, this is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a great story that gives you some things to think about. I found this book EXTREMELY interesting and entertaining, not cheesy or anything. It is fun to read a book that gets the old juices flowing in the brain again. The sex scenes came toward the end and were very hot. Great characters, too. My favorite was the princess.
Our hero and heroine appear in full bloom in the court of Henry VIII. Sir Michael Devereaux, the bastard son of a favorite knight, whose mother was a deflowered nun. He goes to court to prove himself a worthy knight of the realm. Then there is Princess Renee of France, who arrives in court with the reputation of being a slut, after she was caught nude with a painter she thought she loved. She's forced to court to save her hide. While she is there, she must steal an object described as the Ancient, from another famous member of Henry's court, Cardinal Wolsey. From the beginning, I thought Royal Blood was a romance. It read like a romance, it moved and felt like a romance, but what clearly blasted it out of the genre is our hero and the one thing he did, that is a major no, no in romance. He fell in love at first sight with Princess Renee, but shortly after that, he had sex with Lady Anne Hastings. That answered the question as to why I found it in the fiction section of the bookstore. Not only did he have a sexual encounter once, but twice and the second time while the Princess, (who was equally attracted to him) watched. She hid in his room, but he knew she was there, and put on a show for her. Not very knightly or heroic, but I still liked him. And this single act, really took this author, who has two prior historical romances under her belt, right into fiction. Something else that took me by surprise, Michael is a vampire. There is absolutely no hint of this in the beginning of the book. When it comes up and it's apparent he has some kind of powers, I was completely surprised. So much so, I had to ask a member of the book babble, if I had missed something, like a complete chapter. I didn't see it coming at all. I was sooo surprised, I actually flipped back through the book looking for clues, and found nothing to indicate he was going to be a vampire. There were none of usual indicators. He walked in daylight, ate food, didn't crave blood, or at least not yet. Nothing! He even went to church! But in the end Michael was the true knight, even if he was a vampire. He loved Renee and refused the advances of any other women, even when they were apart. I loved this book, and loved the historical individuals who appear regularly, like King Henry VIII and Queen Kathryn of Aragon. There was even a mention of a boy working service who was called Boleyn. I'm assuming it was George, Anne's brother. The story weaved in and out of castles, hunts and court intrigue, which kept me reading and turning every page. All 486pgs. I'm astounded by and very impressed with the research resources that Ms. Sharon used to bring her characters to life. As an amateur historian, I can appreciate the work that has gone into creating everything from food, how it's served, to the Latin spoken by priest, to the poems Michael pinned for Renee. Even though this not my area of expertise, I was astounded by the shear magnitude of the research. What did it teach me? Research is everything. ~Reviewed by Lee at Chasing Heroes
In 1518 Sir Michael Devereaux is sent from Ireland to the Tudor Court to participate in the annual Order of the Garter tournament. At about the same Michael arrives, Princess Renee de Valois of France is forced to go to the Tudor Court to spy on King Henry VIII. Soon after their separate arrivals, Renee hears of a plot to kill the monarch and that is followed by several murders. Cardinal Wolsey asks Michael to investigate the homicides. As Michael begins to connect dots between England, the Vatican and Ireland, he leaves out one key mark from his past until he is injured and he suffers from ugly visions of murder. He soon fears for his sanity as he ponders a supernatural killer while falling in love with Renee who reciprocates; but neither trusts the other leaving both vulnerable to a clever killer. This is a fascinating spin on the reign of Henry VIII using real events to bring alive the aptly titled tale. The action-packed story line combines a whodunit with supernatural implications and a romance starring two wonderful protagonists. However Michael makes ROYAL BLOOD brisk as he fears he is going insane between his nightmares and his paranormal conclusion as to what is killing the blue blooded regal retinue. Harriet Klausner
This book is the best book I've read in a very long time. The Tudor Court comes to life so vividly, I felt I was there. The palace plots, hunts, and moving between castles made this book an original fast page turner. I loved the characters most of all. This is where Ms. Sharon created magic. Michael and his princess are my favorite characters ever. Their relationship felt so real and heartwarming. And the love scenes were super steaming hot!!! I even cried towards the end. Royal Blood is going on my keeper shelf.
Her two previous books were more entertaining. This book had a great plot but then it was skewed with a paranomal backstory that I felt took away from the book. I had a hard time finishing it. Very disappointing.
When i bought royal blood by rona sharon i had no idea what i was getting into. the first thing that amazed me was the fantastic language, so real for the period. from page 1 i knew i was in for a great read just didn't realize how even more great it was about to become. the main characters are introduced to the reader on champers 1 and 2. on chapter 3 they meet--while listening in on powerful nobles scheming to assassinate the great king henry viii. but that's not all, these characters, the irish knight and the french princess, are on opposite sides with each other, too. this chapter pulled me in like no other book i've read. from this point i couldn't stop reading up to the end. the best thing about this book aside from the beautiful romance and the original plot is the outstanding attention to details of the tudor period. this book reads like an amazing movie with action, sensual scenes, secrets, villains, intrigue, and the shocks just keep coming at you. i can't wait to go read sharon's other books. hope this book gets a sequel. brilliant.
First off I have to say I loved this cover. Second, from reading the description you would have no clue about a major factor in the plot of this book. As you read Michael Devereaux¿s story I had an inkling of what was to come but it was still a surprise when the secret was finally revealed. I thought the first quarter or so of the book was interesting and the last couple hundred pages were great. I did think the book could have been much shorter though as the middle really seemed to drag along.I seem to be on a Tudor court kick lately without meaning to. It¿s great because so far none of the books are the same and each has had it¿s own interesting story. Renee¿s character is complex and intriguing. Michael did not grab me as much but the over arching story was worth the read. Stop here if you don¿t want to know the secret the book description doesn¿t mention....When Michael kept needing to drink the special potion to keep away the ¿sweating sickness¿ he contracted I began to think he sounded like a fledgling vampire but thought ¿nah, never heard of a vampire story taking place in the court of Henry VIII¿. Then when it is finally confirmed it still seemed odd to me. I really liked Sharon¿s take on vampires, their origins and the part they played in human history. I just wish this book was about 200 pages shorter.
This book was great,,I really loved it. I toyed with the idea of buying for the longest time and always chicken out but when I finally read it was a complete surprise. Would recommend to anyone.
This book was more than I expected it to be. The balance between historical figures, romance, adventure, and fantasy was flawless. Once I started reading the book, I had a hard time putting it down; I had to keep reading to find out what happened. The story makes you think and keeps you on your feet. Royal Blood is an amazing book which becomes addicting to the reader. This is a must read for lovers if historical fiction and anyone who enjoys reading about court life.
Don't read any of the long reviews. They're full of spoilers and will ruin the book for you. I didn't know anything about this book when I bought it at my local bookstore. This book is a real page-turner with sizzling romance and shocking twists!!! Enjoy!