To Serve A King

To Serve A King

by Donna Russo Morin
4.5 11

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To Serve a King 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Love historical fiction. This was an interesting read. I did like the writing style. Good read.
CathyFitzgerald More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my book club. Let me preface by saying I am not a fan of historical fiction or romance!! However, I felt this book was very well written. I felt the author interwove enough intrigue, storyline and characters to make this an interesting read--not just a romance novel and not dry history. I thought the protagonist was very well developed and I found that I liked her! I may actually check out another of this authors books. Wold recommend, even to those who are not great fans of historical romance--try it you might like it!!
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Erin_N More than 1 year ago
In the "Century of Giants," Henry VIII of England, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain, and King Francois of France engaged in a game of treachery, using all who stood to serve them in their "struggle for power and glory at all levels." The least of their pawns was little Genevieve de Hainaut Gravois, an infant orphaned by an act perfidious politics. Sent to the care of her French aunt, Madame de Montlhery by King Henry VIII of England, she was taught the arts of espionage and warfare to the purpose of bringing down the house of d'Orleans and ensuring a permanent division between France and Spain. From a young age, Genevieve had a deep seated hatred for King François planted and nurtured. Told that Francois was the cause of her parents' deaths, she never questioned her allegiance to Henry of England nor the long paternal letters of support and love she received from her Sire. With a life's mission in her mind and the love of a benevolent king in her heart, she learned to shoot arrows with accuracy, to bring down the largest of animals in a hunt, and learned how to be a courtier in order to be placed right in the heart of her enemy's court. Coming of age, Genevieve's efforts come to fruition as she is taken into the service of Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly, Duchess d'Etampes, King Francois' mistress and advisor. But, much to Genevieve's dismay, King Francois' court and the king himself do not match the stories she had been told all her life. Unsure which is reality, Genevieve must make a choice that has the potential of changing the European political landscape for generations to come. In To Serve a King, Donna Russo Morin paints a very vivid portrait of the royal struggles that plagued Europe during the times of Henry VIII and Francois I. While Genevieve is a fictional character, she fits right in with the historical players in this saga and depicts clearly how the giants of Europe fought their game of crowns, enveloping even the least of their subjects into the struggle. Well written and intriguing, Morin proves that she is a contender in the wildly popular historical fiction genre.
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HistoricalFictionChick More than 1 year ago
Author Donna Russo Morin brings intrigue to the court of King Francois I of France in her third historical novel, To Serve a King. Young Genevieve's life changes when her parents are killed in a fire at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and King Henry VIII decides she is to be reborn as a spy, his own "beautiful weapon". Raised in seclusion, by a cold and callous woman she knows as her aunt, Genevieve is taught how to decipher messages, weaponry and languages. Also brainwashed into believing King Francois I killed her parents and that King Henry VIII is an all-powerful supreme being, she would do anything to avenge her family and please her benefactor, which means infiltrating the court of Francois I as a lady in waiting to Anne d'Heilly, the king's mistress. But Francois I is not the monster she had been expecting. A learned man and patron of the arts, Francois is a true Renaissance king and the fact that he is also charming, generous and sincere is unarming to Genevieve. She had been bred to believe the worst of this man and here he was slowly becoming a father figure to her, causing Genevieve to question her mission and torn between the two biggest forces in her life. To Serve a King is a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing read! I loved the quotes that began every chapter, the characters were well developed and the descriptions of Francois' opulent court were breathtaking. I loved reading about Francois I and now want to know more about him. A fast paced read with a clever and tenacious protagonist, I found it hard to put down! Any fan of historical mysteries will love this exciting read by Donna Russo Morin!
HistoricallyObsessed More than 1 year ago
Just released in bookstores everywhere as of January 25th 2011 in paperback this one is meant for the intrigue lovers. "To Serve a King" delves into the notably renaissance inspired court of King Francis I of France. His court was overflowing with spies, beautiful women, men, and artists. I love the French court and this novel covers many of the aspects I so dearly enjoy reading. I really was fascinated with Donna's previous novel "The Secret of the Glass" but I found this novel distinctly different from her previous release. I much enjoyed the change of pace and bravo Donna for adding twists that this must know it all reader never saw coming. Genevieve Gravois tragically lost her parents in a fire at the glorious once in a millennium meeting of two of history's most monumental kings of Europe. King Henry VIII of England and King Francois I of France meet in the event known as "the field of cloth and gold" it was meant to strengthen the friendship between the two kings following the Anglo-French treaty of 1514. Left parentless under abnormal circumstances Genevieve is taken in by her aunt who from what I summarized was one of King Henry's spies. Henry's brilliant plans for the two year old orphaned child was for her to become his stealthiest and deadliest spy he ever deployed against his longtime friend enemy the King of France Francois I. When the timing was perfect Genevieve was sent to the French court leaving behind an emotionally frigid aunt on her death bed. The French court was where her duties lie and Genevieve found ease in infiltrating Francois' most beloved courtier's lives. Being sent to court under the pretense that her grandmother paid for her a position at court, Genevieve became lady in waiting to the stunning king's mistress the Duchess Anne de Pisseleau. In France it was customary for the mistress to be the leading lady at court that was nothing new. The mistresses were the ones with all the real power and they possessed more pull than even the queen. Genevieve never expected to become a real part of the elite royal click. No matter what she had a mission to serve her true king and nothing not even the people she grew to love would stand in the way of her duty. Heart and mind torn asunder Genevieve was torn between two worlds. Turn her back on Henry or love the man she was brought up to despise, she had to make her bed and lie in it. There was only one choice; she had to decide if she was French or English and there would be no going back.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin is a novel of 16th century France. The heroine, Genevieve Gravois, believes she is the sole survivor of a fire that killed both her parents. Her aunt and King Henry VIII of England both tell her the fire had been set by the King of France, Francois I, and from that moment on, a deep hatred for the French king takes root inside the young girl's soul. As she grows to womanhood, she swears fealty to King Henry, and in return, he educates and trains her to one day become his spy. Genevieve learns to cipher and decipher secret codes and learns to skilfully arm and defend her life with various weapons. Finally, Genevieve is sent to take her place in the court of her enemy, King Francois. There, she immerses herself into the highest levels of the French court, and begins her secret duties as a spy for the English king, sending him secret missives about politics and the actions of the French king. As her life becomes more and more immersed into the opulence and intrigues of the court nobility, Genevieve slowly comes to the realization that all is not as it seems - those who she believes are enemies are not always adversaries and her friends cannot always be trusted. In the novel, To Serve A King, Donna Russo Morin brings to life the affluence and magnificence of the 16th century French court. Important persons of the era make appearances in the story; from Nostradamus and the infamous Diane de Poitiers, to Catherine de Medici and Anne d'Heilly, lending credibility and historical detail to the story. As the tale unfolds, the heroine progresses from a determined young woman obsessed at revenge, to one who begins to question her own values and beliefs as loyalties are tested and secrets revealed. Numerous interesting character interactions and intrigues hold the reader's interest throughout the story. The chapter endings are exquisite, and hook the reader to turn the page to read more. This novel sweeps readers into a turbulent time and takes us into the court of King Francois of France who surrounded himself with the best art, music, and artists of the time. What I enjoyed is although the Tudors are part of the story, they, for once, are not the focus. I liked the author's portrayal of the King of France's portrayal, for even though he is the heroine's nemesis, he comes across as kind hearted, heroic, and magnaimous, which is how I believe he truly was viewed by his people. Impeccably researched, and strewn with delightful descriptions of clothing, furniture, and the aromatic foods of the period, one cannot help but truly enjoy the experience that comes from reading this novel. The reader is drawn by the strength and determination of the affable heroine. From laughter and joy, to sadness and fear, the reader experiences a realm of emotions as the heroine outwits her adversaries and dodges danger as she learns the real truth about her past. For anyone who loves historical fiction with feisty heroines set in majestic surroundings, this make a very satisfying, enjoyable read. Like all of Donna Russo Morin's novels, this one is sure to entertain.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the sixteenth century, King Francis I of France killed the parents of Genevieve Gravois. Her acrimonious aunt raised the orphan with one thought: how to hate the monarch across the Channel. She loathes the French ruler, which fuels her thirst for vengeance by training in male activities like using a bow. King Henry VIII of England believes the girl is a perfect tool to assassinate a rival across the Channel. He encourages her to be the best agent and she swears her loyalty to her liege. Believing the time is right, he sends his top trained spy to France to preferably kill his royal rival or if that is not possible to provide valuable information to the English ruler. However, instead of an amoral despot, Genevieve, who obtains a position as maid of honor to the royal mistress Anne de Pisseleau, finds the French king honest, fair and pushing the renaissance across a court filled with art and artists. The king feels the Renaissance movement will be good for all of Ftamce. The English spy feels a dilemma as the king she pledged loyalty to turns out to be an immoral beast while the king she vowed to murder is a benign ruler. This is a fascinating look at a rarely seen Tudor rival, King Francis (Francois) of France who pushes the Renaissance to enlighten France. The glimpse at his court is refreshing as sixteenth century focus is normally on the Tudor monarchs (see Robin Maxwell's Mademoiselle Boleyn). However, Genevieve's conflict between royals is not on a par with the French court background; as the King of France comes across as a heroic enlightened ruler while the King of England comes across as a villainous avarice despot. Harriet Klausner