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