📚’Here is a man who takes risks almost as a matter of course’. Fiona reviews Tudor #Histfic Raleigh by @tonyriches for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Fiona.

Find out more about her here https://fionaforsythauthor.co.uk/blog/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Fiona has been reading Raleigh by Tony Riches.

Book cover for Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches
Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches

It is particularly important that, as well as telling a good story, an historical novel makes the reader feel comfortable with the era being covered: informative enough to be interesting, entertaining enough to make one want to find out more. It is so easy for a book to turn into an information dump.

Fortunately, within a few pages, I knew I was in expert hands, and settled down to enjoy “Raleigh”, marvelling at the life of a true adventurer. I loved that fact that Riches sets the opening scenes in the London of the theatre, introducing the romantic poetry-writing side of Raleigh which runs through the novel. The reader is reminded of the many facets of a true Elizabethan, the intelligence and fascination with learning, as well as the thirst for war and adventure which is nowadays so alien.

And this is what I take away from this book, that a man like Raleigh was so full of schemes, so outward-looking that he never seems to stay still. I had not been aware of his own many voyages nor of his exploits in Ireland, and it gave me a much better understanding of his willingness to risk his wealth in setting up a colony in Virginia. Here is a man who takes risks almost as a matter of course, for whom the horizon is always thousands of miles in front of him, and nevertheless makes straight for it whenever he can.

Raleigh is narrator in this book, and a straightforward one, though he lets more slip than maybe he realises: notably, his personal relationships, despite the protestations of love for his wife and sons, clearly take second place to his restless spirit. When he is younger, his loyalty to his Queen and his need for her favour seem to be a result of this restlessness and it is an older and wiser Raleigh who, at the end of the book, grieves for his royal mistress and cannot trust her successor.

On reaching the end I did expect that Riches would be continuing Raleigh’s story with the exploits under James 1, surely as fascinating as anything in his earlier life. But this book is the third in a trilogy of Elizabethan characters, and the author’s note indicates that he is heading in another direction. I am hoping there may be a time when Raleigh is called for duty once more.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

⚓’From his days as an impoverished law student to the lively and glittering court of Elizabeth I.’ Noelle reviews #Tudor #Histfic Raleigh by @tonyriches, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

Noelle blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Noelle has been reading Raleigh by Tony Riches.

Book cover for Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches
Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches

I was first introduced to Tony Riches when I read his Tudor Trilogy, about the founding and growth of the Tudor family. With his latest series – the Elizabethans – he populates the Elizabethan court with some of the outstanding characters of the day. The first book had the reader sailing with Sir Francis Drake, the second in the middle of rebellion with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. In this book, the reader accompanies Sir Walter Raleigh (or Rawley as he was earlier called) from his days as an impoverished law student to the lively and glittering court of Elizabeth I. He doesn’t dance or joust, doesn’t come from a noble family, nor marry into one. He just has an overweening ambition to be a courtier, to wear the rich clothes, and to have the ear of the Queen.


Raleigh is an adventurer from the start, taking part in the religious civil wars in France in his late teens, then in the suppression of a rebellion in Ireland. Raleigh proceeds to finish his education in the Inns of the Court and then is admitted to Middle Temple, which is one of the four Inns of the Court exclusively entitling him as a member of the English Bar as a barrister. He has absolutely no interest in the law and decides he can most easily attain his goals by adventure and piracy. With financial backing from his family – his cousin Sir Richard Grenville and a younger half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert – he opts for sea-going adventures to fill his coffers with Spain’s gold, along with those of the Queen, in an attempt to get her attention. He is successful enough to become one of the principal landowners and colonists in Munster, Ireland, for seventeen years. His Irish estates ran into difficulties that contributed to a decline in his fortunes, but he finally becomes a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I because of his efforts at increasing the Protestant Church in Ireland. In 1585, Raleigh is knighted by Queen Elizabeth, whose ear he did have from time to time. She grants Raleigh a royal charter authorizing him to explore, colonize and rule any heathen lands in the New World, in return for one-fifth of all the gold and silver that might be mined there.Most of us know the story of Raleigh in the New World and the lost colonists of Roanoke. No gold and silver are found by the expeditions he funded, but he himself leads expeditions to the Orinoco river basin in South America in search of the golden city of El Dorado, which he never finds.


The author has done an amazing amount of research to bring the people in Raleigh’s circle to life and to let the reader experience the highs and lows of his time at court, and his longer time away from it. Raleigh loved Queen Elizabeth and his choice of his life’s paths are always made with her in mind, to the detriment of himself and his family. Riches introduces such notable nobles as Sir Francis Walsingham and the poet Edmund Spenser, and sets the years of Raleigh’s life against an authentic backdrop of the Court, its unending intrigues, and the history of the time. The clothing, food, and customs do not elude the author’s attention, so the reader becomes embedded in the times.


The book ends with the death of Elizabeth, and perhaps that is for the best because the remaining years of Raleigh’s life under the rule of James I were unfortunate. The reader is left with the image of a man who seeks adventure – who, despite or perhaps because of his lowly origins, is determined and focused in his pursuit of wealth and a courtier’s life – and who is also in love with his Queen.


I highly recommend yet another well-written and richly ornamented book by Tony Riches.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🌍’Raleigh: a man not unlike a modern entrepreneur’. Frank reviews #Tudor #Histfic Raleigh by @tonyriches, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT🌍

Today’s team review is from Frank. Find out more about him here https://franklparker.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Frank has been reading Raleigh by Tony Riches.

There are prize winning books based on the lives of the Tudors. I’m thinking of Hilary Mantell and Alison Weir among others. And then there is Tony Riches. Raleigh is the ninth book about various Tudors from this prolific writer of historical fiction.

The first thing to say about this book is that it is meticulously researched and carefully avoids the myths and legends that surround the Elizabethan adventurer. What we get instead is a portrait of the man and his career. One of the myths that Riches destroys is that Raleigh was Queen Elizabeth’s favourite. On the contrary, he is constantly disappointed at her rejection of his plans and her preferment of others, especially Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and, later, Robert Cecil.

In this interpretation of Raleigh’s life he comes across as a man not unlike a modern entrepreneur: able to persuade others to invest in his adventures on the promise of excellent returns, equally able to delegate responsibility for the management of his estates and other enterprises to others.

It is difficult to understand how men like William Langherne, his first secretary, lost overboard off the coast of Ireland, and Thomas Harriot who became Langherene’s replacement, after serving for years as the principle organiser of his North American expeditions, were able to remain loyal to him.

He has little regard for the orders of his superiors, willing to disobey if he can see a better way to achieve the desired objective. Many of his ambitions are either thwarted or end in failure. Settlers recruited for his ‘colonies’ in Ireland and Virginia are decimated by ‘native’ rebels.

Admirers of Hilary Mantell would no doubt be unimpressed by the lightness of this portrait. That is not to belittle Riches’ work. On the contrary, the simplicity of his style makes the stories he tells accessible to a much wider readership. It is a reason he has earned the accolade as Amazon best selling author, why his blog has over a million views and his podcasts 150,000 downloads.

I’m happy to recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudors and to award it four stars.

Desc 1

Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS