A Far Horizon

A Far Horizon

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

As the English Civil War reaches its bloody climax, three women must fight for survival in the captivating conclusion of the Broken Kingdom series.Summer, 1643. With neither side prepared to back down, King Charles I and Parliament continue to wage a ruthless and gory war where no one is safe. Even away from the battlefields, daily life is a burden and three women struggle on with uncertain futures. Caroline Pendleton, a young widow, must fend for herself in central London, where tensions run at an all-time high, food is scarce and she is forced to share her home with Scottish soldiers. Meanwhile, Lucy Hay, the beautiful Countess of Carlisle, juggles her conflicting allegiances to both Crown and Parliament, in the hope that she might avoid exile, or worse. And then there is Queen Henrietta Maria, who is more unpopular than she's ever been. Now that Parliament's troops are determined to have her head, she faces exile to France once again ... but will her...
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The Illuminator

The Illuminator

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

It is England, in the late fourteenth century, a time when the whim of a lord or the pleasure of a bishop can seal nearly anyone's fate. The printing press has yet to be invented. Books, written only in Latin or Norman French, are rare and costly, painstakingly lettered and illuminated with exquisite paintings---far beyond the reach of ordinary people.But there are cracks in the old feudal order---and in the absolute power of the Church. Finn is a master illuminator who works not only for the Church but also, in secret, for the heretical Oxford cleric John Wycliffe. Under the nose of the powerful Abbot of Broomholm, Finn illuminates pages for Wycliffe---an English translation of the Bible, meant to bring the word of God to the masses. And Finn has another secret, one that will lead both himself and his beloved daughter into ever-increasing peril.Lady Kathryn, the mistress of Blackingham Manor, is a widow who finds herself caught between the King's taxes and...
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The Mercy Seller: A Novel (v5)

The Mercy Seller: A Novel (v5)

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

In this overly complex but engaging sequel to The Illuminator, Friar Gregory, a 15th-century priest and seller of indulgences, is enlisted to root out an alleged heretic, but his devotion to the church can't override his misgivings. When the unscrupulous Archbishop Arundel suspects Sir John Oldcastle of being in league with the heretical Lollards (they distribute—to the horror of Rome—vernacular translations of the scripture), he dispatches Gregory to build a case. As Gregory looks for evidence, a parallel story unfolds in Prague, where the illuminator from Vantrease's first novel is now an old man whose adult granddaughter, Anna, he has trained as a copyist in the Lollard tradition. As persecution of the Lollards intensifies, Anna is dispatched to England (and Oldcastle's protection). Anna's and Gregory's paths cross in France, where the friar finds his vows at the breaking point, with repercussions that propel the rest of the story. The story is carefully researched, but the establishment of so many characters and the social and religious complexities of the time overwhelms the first half of the novel. Vantrease tells an engaging story and paints a vivid picture of 15th-century Europe, but what she doesn't manage to achieve is a balance between the two.
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The Queen's Promise

The Queen's Promise

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Brenda Rickman Vantrease

The enthralling story of two remarkable women caught up in the maelstrom of the English Civil War. February, 1642. With the King and Parliament at loggerheads, England is rushing headlong into a brutal and bloody war. Caught up in the turbulence are two formidable women who face difficult and dangerous times ahead.Forced to abandon her children and leave for foreign shores, the extravagant and unpopular Queen Henrietta Maria discovers that she cannot rely on the loyalty of her former friends and relatives in the royal courts of Europe. Meanwhile, her friend and former lady-in-waiting, the beautiful Countess of Carlisle, determines to remain loyal to the King, despite his craven betrayal of her lover and protector.Separated from their menfolk, these two very different women determine to do what they can to survive in a world where brother is at war with brother, a world where no one can be trusted. But the war will change both their lives in ways they...
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