THE VIRGIN'S WAR Laura Andersen
A Tudor Legacy Novel
Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0-8041-7940-9
E-book ISBN: 978-0-8041-7941-6
July 2016
Historical Fiction

England, 1584

England is ruled by Elizabeth Tudor, ex-wife of King Phillip of Spain, and mother of Anabel, Princess of Wales. Events are heating up as the Spanish have decided to aid the Irish in a potential war with England. Anabel is betrothed to King James VI of Scotland, but in love with Christopher Courtenay (Kit), younger son of Elizabeth's close friend Minuette. Minuette's husband is a trusted military leader, but Elizabeth has banished their elder son, Stephen, from England, and from his title, for treason.  Stephen and Kit are in France. But both sons feel the pull of loyalty to England, and Stephen finds himself back in Ireland, and Kit back with the princess he loves.

Stephen's foray to Ireland, as painful as it is for his history there, brings him face to face with young Maisie Sinclair, a comrade from his previous time in that country. She is now heading back to Scotland to take over running her family's business, and save it from the mess her brother has made of it. She and Stephen form an alliance.

Philippa (Pippa), Stephen and Kit's sister who has the gift of foresight is in the north of England with Anabel where the two have, along with the queen, concocted a plot whereby it will look as if Anabel and her mother are estranged. This, they hope, will lure Anabel's father, King Phillip, into believing Anabel can be manipulated and will side with him in taking over England. Pippa is somewhat aware of the future, some of which is devastating to her, but she vows to help her country fend off the potential attacks.

Yes, this is an alternate history of the Tudors. No, Queen Elizabeth never married, nor did she have any children. But this different scenario is beautifully written and researched. It behooves new readers of this trilogy to read all three books (THE VIRGIN'S DAUGHTER and THE VIRGIN'S SPY) in order to understand the relationships that culminate in this final book. You won't regret it.

Jani Brooks