Andersen debuts with an intriguing premise: What if Anne Boleyn gave birth to a living son in 1536? Andersen’s novel, alive with historical flair and drama, satisfies both curious and imaginative Tudor aficionados. Set against a backdrop of foreign pressures, treasonous Catholic plots, loyal friends, hidden foes and a love triangle, her multidimensional characters are so real that readers will wish it was history and eagerly await the next in the trilogy.

At 17, Henry IX, known as William, is waiting for his 18th birthday so that he may take the mantle of king from his uncle, the Regent, George Boleyn. He is determined to prove himself capable of ruling a country in turmoil. He must walk a political tightrope with the help of his older sister, Elizabeth, his best friend, Dominic and his mother’s ward, Minuette. Somehow, these four friends move through the treacherous palace halls, evading a series of personal and political conflicts and helping William to the throne. (BALLANTINE, Jun., 340 pp., $15.00)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin