In a Treacherous Court

Written by Michelle Diener
Review by Nanette Donohue

John Parker has risen from the London slums to become one of Henry VIII’s most trusted courtiers – a man whose strength, loyalty, and service are unquestionable. Parker has no family and few friends, so he lives for his work. Then he meets the Dutch artist Susanna Horenbout, who has been unwittingly swept up in a plot against the king. Their attraction is immediate, and Parker is both impressed with and inspired by her strength and resolve. The duo begin a quest to uncover which member of Henry’s inner circle is responsible for the ongoing plot against their ruler, requiring them to battle their way through both upper- and lower-class London. As they come closer to finding the traitor, Parker and Susanna fall more deeply in love, further raising the stakes.

Diener’s debut novel is a fast-paced adventure story with strong romantic elements, full of short sentences, quick bursts of dialogue, and intense fight sequences. The action is nonstop, and the story doesn’t get bogged down in minute details or lavish descriptions. Both Parker and Susanna are well-rounded characters, and the slow revelation of Parker’s troubled past makes for some of the most poignant scenes in the novel. Fans of Tudor-era intrigue will enjoy Diener’s tale of these two long-forgotten historical figures.