Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, is one of the most intriguing men of the Elizabethan period. Tall and handsome, he soon becomes a ‘favourite’ at court, so close to the queen many wonder if they are lovers.
The truth is far more complex, as each has what the other yearns for. Robert Devereux longs for recognition, wealth and influence. His flamboyant naïveté amuses the ageing Queen Elizabeth, like the son she never had, and his vitality makes her feel young.
Robert Devereux’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Book Title: Essex – Tudor Rebel
Series: (Elizabethan Series, Book 2)
Author: Tony Riches
Publication Date: 9th April 2021
Publisher: Preseli Press
Page Length: 352 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
You can purchase a copy of the book via -
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bwo16Y
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09246T7ZT
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09246T7ZT
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09246T7ZT
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09246T7ZT
This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.
Now for the excerpt -
William Cecil’s House, Theobalds Manor, June 1578
The sun cast long shadows before Robert could be alone with Elizabeth. They escaped to her mother’s garden behind the house, where the delicate scent of roses filled the still summer air. The only sounds were the sleepy buzz of honeybees, and the trilling song of a skylark high overhead.
The stifling atmosphere of Trinity College, with its strict rules and relentless routine of study and prayer, seemed a world away. Robert no longer thought of Chartley Manor as home. His childhood seemed a different life, and Theobalds was where he was happiest.
Elizabeth smiled at him, her eyes twinkling with amusement. ‘Now you can tell me what it’s really like at university in Cambridge.’
‘I’ve learned some important lessons during my first year.’ He returned her smile. ‘They will serve me well, but are not what I expected when I first entered Trinity College.’
They’d reached her mother’s wooden bench seat. Shaded from the setting sun, the secluded spot had a good view of the garden, yet allowed them some privacy. Elizabeth sat and arranged her dress to stop it from creasing, then gestured for him to join her. ‘Tell me what you’ve been doing. I want to know everything.’
Robert wasn’t sure where to begin. ‘I’ve found my studies interesting enough, and my tutors are kind and encouraging, but I have to say after a whole year I have few real friends. Master Wright does his best for me, but I miss your company.’
Her cheeks reddened, and her voice softened, as if something had changed between them. ‘There must be other students your age?’
‘Some seek me out in the belief I’ll be of use to them.’ He shook his head. ‘They pretend friendship, yet only because I have the title of Earl of Essex. Much worse are those who do their best to unfairly provoke me.’
‘What do they say?’ She placed her hand on his arm.
‘They call down the corridors, like the cowards they are, “Your mother is a harlot, Essex!”’ Her eyes widened as he mimicked their harsh shouts. ‘One said she had my father poisoned.’ The comforting warmth of her hand rested on his arm, and he was glad to be able to tell her. ‘I try to ignore them, but their taunts trouble me, and one name keeps returning to my mind.’
‘Your godfather, Sir Robert Dudley?’ Elizabeth looked serious. ‘You told me your sister Penelope didn’t trust Dudley. She suspected your mother was seeing him while your father was away in Ireland.’
Robert nodded. ‘She said rumours begin from a grain of truth. Did you know Robert Dudley’s wife died in a fall down her stairs one day, while he was with the queen?’
Elizabeth’s hand went to her mouth. ‘Do you think he might have had his wife murdered?’
‘Who can know? I’ve been thinking about the day my father’s secretary, Edward Waterhouse, told us what happened in Dublin. There could be something about my father’s death he kept back, perhaps for good reason.’
‘You must find out, for your father’s sake.’
Robert agreed. ‘I shall write to Edward Waterhouse and ask about my father’s last days.’
The sun turned the sky a soft peach as they walked back to the house. He’d worried the bond between them might have changed – and it had, but for the better. Robert saw how her eyes shone when she laughed, and liked the feel of her hand on his arm. For the first time, he found himself wondering if they might marry, when he’d earned his degree and reached his majority.
He put the thought from his mind for now, and turned to her. ‘Why didn’t your brother attend university?’
Elizabeth looked serious. ‘My brother is being groomed to one day take our father’s place.’
‘To become the most important man in England?’
She nodded. ‘He will be well suited to it, as his private tutors prepare him for a life of court politics. There is talk he might go to Oxford.’
‘You sound as if you envy him?’
‘And you, with the Master of your college, Doctor John Whitgift, as your personal tutor.’
‘I’d not thought how it must be for you.’
‘I’m more fortunate than many girls my age, who learn little more than needlework and hope for an early marriage; my mother makes sure I have the best tutors. But it’s not the same.’
They reached the house. Robert silently rehearsed an apology for being so preoccupied with his own problems. The moment passed, but he’d glimpsed the resentment behind Elizabeth’s smile, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Robert Devereux’s remarkable true story continues in ESSEX- Tudor Rebel, the epic tale of loyalty and love and adventure follows Robert from his youth to his fateful rebellion.
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling Tudor historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham.
You can connect with Tony Riches via these platforms -
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOXA
You can also learn more about the author and the book by visiting the other blogs on this tour.
That's it for now.
Till the next time.
Take care Zoe