Praise for The Devil’s Slave:
“The pages turn briskly, apace with Frances’s increasing bravery. Surprising revelations and a cliffhanger prepare us for Volume 3. As Borman’s protagonist grows a spine, she’s starting to grow on us.”Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The King’s Witch:
“A story weaved around real-life characters by an acclaimed historian . . . Vivid . . . Everything you would want to read in a novel, ranging from palatial royals and intrigues to betrayals to a love story . . . Knowledgeable and entertaining.”Washington Book Review, “Essential Novels for This Summer”
“The incredibly detailed and vivid narrative transports readers to a time when women were seen as no more than a commodity to be traded, and conspiracy loomed in every corner. This engaging page-turner is enhanced by flawless prose and an absorbing plot, making it a perfect choice for fans of historical fiction and post-Tudor England.”Library Journal (starred review)
“Borman lures readers into this first in a series of historical novels set during the reign of the Stuarts . . . [She] is an astute chronicler of 17th-century English life, keenly depicting the excesses of the court and the dangers of religious persecution. The vivid detail and effortless storytelling will appeal to many readers, particularly fans of historicals in the vein of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.”Publishers Weekly
“Historian Borman embeds a fictional character in the royal court of James I in her promising debut novel . . . By introducing Tom Wintour, a real-life figure, as Frances’ love interest, Borman adds a little historical heft and a lot of spice to her tale. The action culminates with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, as the stage is nicely set for volume two of this projected trilogy.”Booklist
“Tracy Borman’s debut historical novel has it all: conspiracy, betrayal, dark intrigues, bloody deeds, a poignant love storyand the most famous plot in English history. In the debauched court of James I, nothing is as it seems, loyalties are torn, and danger is all around. At the centre of it all, Borman has created an engaging and courageous heroine, and her highly accomplished writing ensures that the reader is swept along to a shattering and shocking climax.”Alison Weir, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII
“Exquisitely written, sumptuous in detail and thrillingly plotted, The King’s Witch takes you deep into the darkness of the early Jacobean Court and into the heart of the wonderful, unforgettable Lady Frances. The first of what promises to be a magnificent trilogy.”Kate Williams, author of Becoming Queen Victoria and Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen
Continuing saga of a lady-in-waiting under constant suspicion in the witch-baiting court of James I.
The inaugural volume of Borman's trilogy (The King's Witch, 2018) ended as Lady Frances, who was involved in the failed Powder Treason plot against King James, fled back to her family estate, Longford, after Tom Wintour, a co-conspirator, was executed along with Guy Fawkes and others. Volume 2 finds Frances, pregnant by and in mourning for Wintour, accepting, under pressure from her scheming brother, Edward, the marriage proposal of Sir Thomas Tyringham, King James' master of hounds. The two agree that the marriage will remain platonic, and when her son, George, is born, Sir Thomas assumes paternity. The remnants of the papist conspiracy still hoping to dethrone rabid Protestant James once again tap Frances for help. She is urged to return to the service of Princess Elizabeth and encourage a match with a Catholic prince. She also becomes reluctantly embroiled in a plot launched by Sir Walter Raleigh, from his luxurious Tower cell, to advance competing claims to the throne. As Wintour's memory fades, Frances is increasingly attracted to her husband. Initially, Frances is again the passive observer, always in jeopardy from those longing to see her ensnared anew by James' anti-witch frenzy—including Elizabeth's beloved brother Henry, Prince of Wales, and Frances' own brother. When her chief persecutor, Lord Cecil, requires her services as a healer and surgeon, détente but no true security results. Witchcraft prosecutions mostly benefit the male medical profession, with its dubious treatments, by targeting female wise-women, healers, and herbalists like Frances, whose M.O. is truly "First do no harm." This message is powerfully brought home when Frances, risking arrest, helps Thomas recover from severe injuries—the ministrations of the king's physicians would have killed him. After a slow start, the pages turn briskly, apace with Frances' increasing bravery. Surprising revelations and a cliffhanger prepare us for Volume 3.
As Borman's protagonist grows a spine, she's starting to grow on us.