The Queen’s Guard
The year is 1147, and Lady Isabella de Lacey is traveling to Jerusalem with Queen Eleanor, King Louis of France, and his army of crusaders as a member of the Queen’s Guard. Having first arrived in Constantinople, the Queen has Isabella spy on Raoul Laskaris, Emperor Manuel’s closest guard, not knowing that Raoul is acting as a spy for Manuel. Isabella is fiercely loyal to the Queen, because she saved Isabella from an abusive husband and will give her life to protect her. Knowing she could possibly lose her life, she must find out what the Emperor wants with King Louis. Raoul and Isabella form an attraction to one another that they both try to deny. Throughout the story, they face many obstacles that bring them closer together. The author weaves a well-written story of political intrigue, espionage, attempted murder and mystery. There were so many twists and turns to the story that at first I wasn’t sure how the plot was going to come together, and I was pleasantly surprised as I read on. I enjoyed the author’s rendering of the strong, individualized personalities of each of the women. What is so unique about them is their relationship with the Queen; they are like daughters to her and share a special bond. While there is not anything in history to support the idea that Queen Eleanor had Guards that were women, the focus of the close-knit group of women was a clever invention. I highly recommend this book.