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Book Review | A Phoenix Rising, Book One in the series, The House of the Red Duke by @VivienneBreret

Title: A Phoenix Rising, Book One in the series, The House of the Red Duke

Author: Vivienne Brereton

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

“If I have anything to do with it, we Howards will live forever.”

Thomas Howard Charismatic head of one of the most powerful Houses in Tudor England. An indomitable old man approaching eighty: soldier, courtier, politician, a ‘phoenix’ rising from the ashes. After a calamitous period of disgrace, the Howards, renowned for their good looks and charm, are once more riding high at the court of Henry VIII.

Set against the backdrop of the extraordinary 1520 ‘Field of Cloth of Gold’, it is a tale of ambition, love, and intrigue, with Thomas at the centre of this intricate tapestry.

Will Thomas’s bold vow be fulfilled? Danger stalks the corridors of the royal courts of Europe. Uneasy lies the head beneath a crown. Every other ruler - a fickle bedfellow…or sworn enemy.

The action takes place in England, Scotland, and France. On either side of the Narrow Sea, four young lives are interwoven, partly unaware of each other, and certainly oblivious to what Dame Fortune has in store for them.

“Nicolas de La Barre laid his lute to one side, hardly bothering to stifle a yawn of boredom. Nevertheless, he couldn’t escape the fact he’d agreed to take on a new wife….”

Explosive family secrets are concealed behind the ancient walls of castles in three lands. But… “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.”

My Review:

One of the most powerful families in Tudor England are the Howards. After dealing with a period of disgrace, they are once again atop King Henry VIII’s court. Thomas Howard vows to make sure the House of Howard will live forever. But there are many who wish to topple the Howards. Who is friend and who is foe? Deception and treachery surround Thomas Howard. He has dealt with all that Dame Fortune has thrown his way and he’ll slit his own throat before he gives up the power and prestige of the House of Howard. As his enemies encircle him like vultures hovering over a dead man, will he fulfill his vow and rise above like a phoenix rising or will he be eaten alive?

Wow, A Phoenix Rising is one of the most intricate historical fiction books I’ve ever read. Vivienne Brereton takes a tumultuous time in European history and breaths new life into it. Her research is impeccable as is her description narration. The suspense kept me riveted as I whipped through the pages. I was amazed this is her debut novel, for it reads like a bestseller.

It is told from multiple points of view and with a full cast of characters. For some readers, it will be a lot to take in but not for me. I relished the various viewpoints for it allowed me to get inside the minds of several historical figures, many of them I’ve read a great deal about. As a historical fiction fan, it was like eating at a huge buffet. Enthralling. Captivating. Fulfilling.

Fans of Game of Thrones will love the political jockeying, power struggle and treachery throughout the book. Fans of Jean Plaidy will love this book as well. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

Buy it Now:

It is also available to order through bookshops everywhere.

Author Biography:

Born near historic Winchester in the UK, Vivienne Brereton has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in medieval history at university where she met her future husband. Three sons later and six countries she called home, she finally felt ready to write a novel.

Words have always played an important part in Vivienne’s life whether it’s been writing, editing, teaching English to foreigners, or just picking up a good book. In preparation for her novel, she read intensively on the skills needed to write well and did an enormous amount of research which she greatly enjoyed. Having three sons was helpful when she came to write about the characters, Tristan and Nicolas. All those squabbles she had to deal with came in very handy. She also used her husband and sons as guinea pigs for her Tudor cookery attempts with varying degrees of success (abuse).

Seeing A Phoenix Rising in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her and she hopes you enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @VivienneBreret1

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

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