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Innocent Traitor

Weir, Alison

(Book - 2006)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Innocent Traitor
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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." -The Independent "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 From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2006
ISBN: 9780345494856
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 402 p. ; 25 cm


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Jan 03, 2014
  • velvet01 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great book that tells about Jane Grey from a young up until her sad end. It shows a young girl who was manipulated by many important historical figures. An amazing book!

Mar 27, 2012
  • snowbird922 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I did like the book but I agree that while I liked the style of hearing from different points of view it turned out to be to much. Too many points of view had me a bit confused at the end.

Aug 30, 2011
  • dontbugmeimreading rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very good - Alison Weir takes the facts and is able to turn it into a fascinating story without bogging it down with a lot of politics. Yes, there are politics in it but it doesn't drown in it like some historical novels I've read. Can't wait to read another book by her.

Feb 25, 2011
  • ejwise72 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

In-between the short reigns of Edward and Mary, two of Henry VIII’s progeny, there was Lady Jane Grey, a cousin of theirs, who ruled for a mere nine days. My first heads-up about her (after running across her name on some list of British royalty) was in the film Lady Jane with Helena Bonham-Carter in the title role. As the first daughter of Frances Brandon (daughter of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk) and Henry Grey, Jane was deliberately hoisted onto the throne after Edward’s untimely death for the sole political purposes of enriching her parents, the family name, as well as prevented a Catholic relapse in England should Mary ascent the throne. That is, a power vacuum was deliberately created to crown Jane and her ill-suited husband (also forced upon her) Queen and King. Said vacuum was premised upon not only a strict interpretation of legitimate succession (precluding both Mary and Elizabeth, as they were made bastards), but also by the clever machinations of Henry Grey and his allies in court who got Edward, on his death-bed, to rewrite the succession with Jane immediately following him.

As in her more recent work of historical/biographical fiction, Weir succeeds brilliantly by staying true to the historical record all while creating a very convincing drama that unfolds nearly flawlessly. (I use “nearly” as I’m sure there may be a mistake, grammatical or historical, that I cannot for the life of me detect.) She also includes a perhaps invented or imagined incident in this story that she did to brilliant effect in The Lady Elizabeth; this being the indiscretion between the Lord Admiral and Elizabeth, which greatly effected his marriage to Katherine Parr, the widow queen to the late King Henry VIII.

By novel’s end, Jane – now imprisoned in the Tower after Mary’s forces rout the Protestant cause upon the former’s entry into the city of London – holds resolutely to her vow that she will not reconvert to Catholicism in order to be spared beheading; a generous concession made by Mary, even though the latter’s advisors passionately argued in favor of Jane’s immediate death. However, a foolish attempt to re-seize the throne by Jane’s father and his Protestant allies quickly ruled in favor of Mary’s advisors, and Jane was is sent to the scaffold.

Tudor history is marked by many a beheading, but it seems neither tiresome nor pointlessly gratuitous here. Weir creates a very human story of a young woman forced by her parents to be something that she has no desire to be -- an age-old conflict between parents and their children, if you really think about it. And it is precisely this on which Weir proves herself to be a consummate narrative writer.

Oct 18, 2010
  • rgally rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Historical fiction at its best. Based on well researched fact.

Dec 29, 2009
  • Bells rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An excellent novel about my favourite queen- Jane Grey. Captures the perspectives of numerous historical figures, giving each character depth and balance. A great read.

Dec 13, 2009
  • LibraryCat1 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Well researched and interesting novel. The author has written several non-fiction books on this time period as well.


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