Today’s team review is from Fiona.
Find out more about her here https://fionaforsythauthor.co.uk/blog/
Fiona has been reading Raleigh 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.
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.