Published 2009 488 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
In the Tudor Court of 1518, your friends and enemies can be one and the same...
During the annual celebration of the Order of the Garter, Sir Michael Devereaux arrives in King Henry VIII's court on a mission for his benefactor. The celebration's endless feats and sumptuous women delight the charismatic newcomer, who becomes captivated by the enigmatic Princess Renee of France. But evil, it seems, has followed Michael to the court. Shortly after his arrival, an unknown killer claims several victims, including the Queen's lady-in-waiting, and the powerful Cardinal Wolsey asks Michael to help with the investigation.
As he searches for the killer, Michael is haunted by disturbing images of the victims - flashes of violence that lead him to doubt his own sanity. Michael soon realizes that the key to solving the crime is connected to both the Pope's Imperial vault in Rome and a mystery from Michael's own past - revealing a secret that is so damning, it could forever alter the future of mankind.
And now for something different… namely Royal Blood written by established historical romance author Rona Sharon. Royal Blood is a very different choice to my usual reading matter. Yes it has vampires in it, but as rule while I may occasionally read a historical romance I never read historical literature - because frankly I’ve always thought that my life was too short for such weighty tomes. Am I rethinking my rule? Yes, if Rona Sharon writes more books like Royal Blood.
Royal Blood is an amazing novel. Written in the style of historical literature, it uses the language of the Tudor period both in dialogue and for the names of things. This does make the book a little heavy going at first since the language of the early 1500s is very different to English today but once you get used to its style the pages turn easily enough. The author also uses the real people and events of the time to populate the book with characters and then frames them within an exciting plotline that blends historical fact and fantasy remarkably well.
Tudor England was a colourful time in English history and the intrigues of King Henry’s court easily carry the first half of the book without the aid of the supernatural. The paranormal elements are only hinted at until the second half of the book where they are suddenly revealed. The romance part of the story is slow to build too, with the protagonists dancing around each other for the first half of the book. Renee and Michael come together in an explosively passionate fashion later on in the story so romance fans should find the initial slow burn well worth the wait.
The paranormal elements of the story shouldn’t fail to satisfy fantasy fans and the vampire mythology works well in its historical setting. The political and papal conspiracies surrounding the supernatural just add to the excitement. The vampire mythology is fairly complex but it’s impossible to say more without revealing the secrets of the storyline and this would be a shame since the reveal is worth waiting for. Michael’s (and the reader’s) bafflement about events happening around him and his fears for his sanity are central to the story.
Renee makes a great heroine. She is a woman who refuses to bow down to the established conventions of her time and she chooses to become a spy for France in King Henry’s court (a crime punishable by death) rather than get married as her family want. The intrigue that surrounds her is enough to fill the pages of a novel even without the added bonus of secret vampire conspiracies.
At first glance the mating of historical literature with paranormal romance seems unlikely to work but look again, because somehow Royal Blood pulls it off with ease. Amazing. Recommended reading for paranormal romance fans - even the ones who don’t like historical novels! Don’t just take my word for it check this book out for yourself.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
Rona Sharon is also the author of several romance novels in addition to Royal Blood. You can find out more about her work and read the first chapter of Royal Blood on her website. Visit Rona’s site.