A Novel of Lady Jane Grey
By Alison Weir
Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345494856, 416pp.
Publication Date: February 27, 2007
I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live.
Historical expertise marries page-turning fiction in Alison Weir’s enthralling debut novel, breathing new life into one of the most significant and tumultuous periods of the English monarchy. It is the story of Lady Jane Grey–“the Nine Days’ Queen”–a fifteen-year-old girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the religious and civil unrest that nearly toppled the fabled House of Tudor during the sixteenth century.
The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn’s beheading and the demise of Jane’s infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII. With the premature passing of Jane’s adolescent cousin, and Henry’s successor, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor.
Unabashedly honest and exceptionally intelligent, Jane possesses a sound strength of character beyond her years that equips her to weather the vicious storm. And though she has no ambitions to rule, preferring to immerse herself in books and religious studies, she is forced to accept the crown, and by so doing sets off a firestorm of intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy.
Alison Weir uses her unmatched skills as a historian to enliven the many dynamic characters of this majestic drama. Along with Lady Jane Grey, Weir vividly renders her devious parents; her much-loved nanny; the benevolent Queen Katherine Parr; Jane’s ambitious cousins; the Catholic “Bloody” Mary, who will stop at nothing to seize the throne; and the protestant and future queen Elizabeth. Readers venture inside royal drawing rooms and bedchambers to witness the power-grabbing that swirls around Lady Jane Grey from the day of her birth to her unbearably poignant death. Innocent Traitor paints a complete and compelling portrait of this captivating young woman, a faithful servant of God whose short reign and brief life would make her a legend.
“An impressive debut. Weir shows skill at plotting and maintaining tension, and she is clearly going to be a major player in the . . . historical fiction game.”
“Alison Weir is one of our greatest popular historians. In her first work of fiction . . . Weir manages her heroine’s voice brilliantly, respecting the past’s distance while conjuring a dignified and fiercely modern spirit.”
–London Daily Mail
Praise for Alison Weir
“Compelling, gripping and believable . . . a highly readable tour de force that brings Queen Isabella vividly to life.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“Insightful . . . the acclaimed Weir offers well-researched surprise after surprise about the sensual, rather avaricious but eminently admirable Isabella.”
Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley
“The finest historian of English monarchical succession writing now is Alison Weir. . . . Her assiduousness and informed judgment are precisely what make her a writer to trust.”
–The Boston Globe
Eleanor of Aquitaine
“Extraordinary . . . exhilarating in its color, ambition, and human warmth. The author exhibits a breathtaking grasp of the physical and cultural context of Queen Eleanor’s life.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Evocative . . . a rich tapestry of a bygone age and a judicious assessment of her subject’s place within it.”