Taste of Treason is the second book in the Tudor Enigma series. The books are a mix of alternative history and fantasy, but that description fails to do them justice.
Well written and comprehensively researched, the stories take the reader back to the days following the death of Henry VIII. Except that in these stories, Henry has a male heir, Henry IX is on the throne, and Anne Boleyn is alive and well.
In Taste of Treason, Luke, an apothecary working not far from Hampton Court Palace, has been engaged as an Inquirer by Anne. He is an Elemancer; a man with certain magical powers. He is also a man with a conscience who gives his time and cures generously to the poor of the area. Young and handsome, he has yet to understand the joys and benefits to be had from female company, though he has admirers.
I won’t give a synopsis here, except to let you know that Royal lives are in danger and the future stability of the Realm is dependent on Luke’s success in discovering the nature, identity and purpose of the Sunderer bent on causing as much trouble as possible. He must fight this powerful evil whilst maintaining a low profile, defending his friends from an ambitious and unscrupulous witch finder, and dealing with the unreasonable demands of the Royals for whom he works.
As always with April Taylor’s writing, the characters are real and flawed. It is easy to empathise with the main protagonists, and the lesser characters are drawn with equal facility. The story moves at a good pace from the beginning and drives toward a stunning and increasingly intense denouement. Although I was initially obliged to read the story over a number of short sessions, I was unwilling to put the book down once I’d started on this last portion.
The author uses language that is both accessible and appropriate to the time of the story. She has developed a style that perfectly fits the story and its time. Her descriptions of the various potions concocted by the apothecary are full of detail, making the whole believable. Dog lovers will appreciate Luke’s loyal companion. And history buffs will enjoy the details that describe the society and way of life of the times. The romantics will love the developing relationships.
So, if you like a splash of romance and magic blended with some history you’ll love this book. I’ve read and enjoyed the first book, and now the second. I look forward to the next in the series.