Title: Traitor’s Knot
Author: Cryssa Bazos
A tidbit about the author
Cryssa lives and writes in Canada and celebrated the 150th birthday of Canada on July 1 at a poolside barbecue. The weather gods cooperated! Her idea of a great weekend is being locked in a room and hunched over a keyboard for ‘unfettered writing time.’
England 1650: Civil War has given way to an uneasy peace in the year since Parliament executed King Charles I. Royalist officer James Hart becomes a highwayman to raise funds to restore the king’s son to England’s throne. He falls in love with Elizabeth Seton, a traitor’s daughter, who shelters fugitives from Parliament. The lovers’ loyalty will be tested through war, defeat and separation.
NOTE: There may be spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk!
The scene that made you laugh out loud or cheer
There was definitely cheering when the young Prince Charles showed up in the stables to have James escort him in defiance of his advisors. Ms. Bazos played the scene leading up to it perfectly – had me convinced Charles wouldn’t be leaving without a full entourage.
The place where you wanted to throw the book across the room
At first I thought I was going to have a real problem with Elizabeth’s Aunt Isabel and her friend Sir Richard. I dreaded nearly every time he came on scene. Their attitude was raising hairs on my neck.
“Sir Richard did not once look at Elizabeth, treating her as though she was a spirit in the room. Isabel, meanwhile, continued to flatter him.”
But antagonist Hammond’s pontification wins hands down. At one point I had to put the book aside.
A memorable line (or two)
Fools. Vacant fools. Must be the layers of brocade that had addled their brains.
–James Hart’s thought on Prince Charles’ advisors
And this short exchange between James and the young prince:
“Has your household managed to do the impossible and finish their packing in a few hours’ time?” As soon as he said it, he immediately regretted the flippancy. But to his surprise, the prince grinned.
“Hardly. They’re still debating about how many silver candlesticks to bring. The argument will last for days.”
My verdict: ***4.5 stars***
I love a bit of adventure (and romance) with my historical fiction and this novel does not disappoint. Ms. Bazos writes a mean battle scene, but she is just as skilled writing about everyday life whether in the parlor or in the village, lacing the story with details that take us back to 17th century England. Traitor’s Knot vividly paints the social and political turbulent times. The tension and budding relationship between James and Elizabeth is fun to watch unfold. These characters, as well as the secondary ones, come to life. James is a bit cocky and I worried for him in his dealings with Hammond, but that’s a sign that I care about the man. And Hammond, the constable at the nearby garrison, is a villain who will make your skin crawl. This reader wanted the lovers to be together, but Ms. Bazos throws one obstacle after another in their path, leaving you breathless. The story is well-paced, gripping throughout, and exciting. If you love period-based dramas that are historically accurate and entertaining, this is a book for you.