Title: The Queen’s Man
Author: Sharon Kay Penman
Release Date: November 1996
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
Epiphany, 1193. Eleanor of Aquitaine sits upon England’s throne. Her beloved son Richard the Lionheart is missing, presumed dead – and the court whispers that her younger son, John, is plotting to seize the crown. Meanwhile, on the snowy highroad from Winchester, a destitute young man falls heir to a blood stained letter, pressed into his hand by a dying man. The missive becomes Justin de Quincy’s passport into the queen’s confidence – and into the heart of danger, as he pursues a cunning murderer and jousts with secret traitors in Eleanor’s court of intrigue and mystery . . .
I’ve heard wonderful things about Sharon Kay Penman, and have been wanting to read one of her novels for quite some time. I chose The Queen’s Man to be my first Penman read for two reasons: first, I’ve heard that it’s a bit lighter than her other novels, and is therefore a good introduction to her work. Second, I was looking for a book that started with “Q” for the A to Z Challenge, and Meghan from Medieval Bookworm recommended The Queen’s Man.
I’m happy to say that The Queen’s Man lived up to all my Sharon Kay Penman expectations, and then some. The historical details were very intricate and detailed. I didn’t know much about Eleanor of Aquitaine before reading this novel, besides the fact that she was an extraordinary woman, and was very glad for the brief account of her history that Penman provided in this novel. I also loved that the premise of the mystery is actually based in history. Though she took some liberties, I really can see how wonderful of a historical author she is through this book.
Justin is a great character and I’m really excited that there are more books in this series with him as the main character. I liked that he had integrity, but was still realistic. Though some of the characters were stereotypical (especially the “bad guys”), I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and hope a lot of them show up again in the next book in the series!
I really enjoyed The Queen’s Man and highly recommend it if you enjoy historical mysteries or want an introduction to Sharon Kay Penman’s work. I’m really glad I took the time to read it!