Synopsis [from bn.com]:
In the Tudor Court of 1518, your friends and enemies can be one and the same...
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.
Holy crap - this book took me forever to read. Not that it wasn't good...it just really gave me a hard time. I suppose it's because I'm not that historical savvy yet. Not that I ever will be, I just haven't read that many historical books. This is also my first novel by Rona Sharon. So maybe that had something to do with it...I don't really know. That and maybe the fact that it was a fat ass book lol
As I mentioned in the above paragraph, I'm not a historical fiction pro. To me, Rona Sharon did a most excellent job in detailing and setting up the 16th century Tudor England. I'm not familar with Henry VII and the court politics and intrigue of that time. What can I say? I avoided European History in high school and took U.S. History again in college. Basically, I have no idea what went down in Europe unless it concerned the U.S. ... And even then I'm still a bit fuzzy. All I know is that ROYAL BLOOD's premise interested me immensly. And I must say I wasn't disappointed.
Michael Devereaux is on a mission. Traveling from Ireland, Michael is out to make a name for himself at Henry VII's annual Order of the Garter celebration. His benefactor Lord Tyrone has warned him of the dangers of court politics and told him to be careful. He tells Michael that it's great to be loved and wanted but not to fall in love. It will only complicate things for him. Michael has no problem with that... until he sets eyes on Princess Renee de Valois of France.
Renee is a fiery minx of a woman. The sister of the Queen of France and the daughter of the previous King, Renee is sent on a mission of her own pretty much against her will by the current King of France and Cardinal Medici. It is when the two paths cross that Michael and Renee are both sucked into a whirlwind of murder, mystery, betrayal, and romance that will keep you wanting more.
I remember when I first accepted the inquiry for review, I don't think I knew there was going to be any paranormal element in the book. I mean the back of the book doesn't even mention it. And I can't remember how I found out about the paranormal part but I know I knew about it before I opened the book. And it was a delightful addition. The vampire lore had a few new twists that added a different feel against the brilliant historical setting Rona Sharon created.
I found the first half of the book enjoyable - although slow. I must admit it took me a great while to get used to the feel of Michael and Renee's world. But I don't necessarily fault Rona's writing. I think it might have been the fact that I'm a historical newbie. Another thing I had trouble with was keeping some of the characters straight... another thing I can't really fault Rona for. Again, that may just be me.
Overall though, when I turned the last page, I found myself really liking ROYAL BLOOD. I'm sure true historical fans will appreciate the detail and depth Rona Sharon has written with. And even non-historical fans will love the characters and the paranormal feel towards the end. I highly recommend this one. I wish there was a sequel to it =) Regardless I'll be checking out more of Rona's books when I get the chance.