Keeper of the King’s Secrets

Written by Michelle Diener
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

In her first book, In a Treacherous Court, Michelle Diener introduced Susanna Horenbout, court artist, and John Parker, dangerous courtier, as sleuths who serve King Henry VIII. In her second book, Keeper of the King’s Secrets, this couple once again must match wits against deadly enemies of the state, this time French agents in London and the devious Duke of Norfolk.

Susanna and John have become engaged, and their love for one another adds a layer of suspense as each comes into harm’s way and must be rescued. At the crux of the intrigue is the famous Mirror of Naples, a magnificent diamond that Henry’s sister, Mary, “borrowed” when she left France as a widow. Ever since, King Francis I has been itching to secure the jewel and return it to France.

As the mystery builds, layer upon layer, neither John nor Susanna can be sure whom to trust. They are treading in shifting sands, and danger lurks all around. From the thrill of “shooting the bridge” to the mysterious assassin who is an expert marksman with a crossbow, the pace of this book is exciting.

Diener recreates the world of London vividly and allows the reader to experience what life may have been like for those not born to wealth and glory. And you can’t help rooting for John and Susanna as they struggle to save the king and save themselves as well as their love.