The Cardinal’s Court

Written by Cora Harrison
Review by Ann Northfield

During the Tudor era where so many novels take place, it can be difficult to find a new perspective on an old setting, yet Harrison manages it. Henry VIII is still married to Katherine of Aragon when the story begins, but Anne Boleyn is already dazzling many, including the rich, young, noble Harry Percy. The narrator is an outsider looking in, an Irish Brehon (traditional lawyer and deal-maker) charged with arranging the finances and legal matters so that the son of the family he works for, James Butler, can marry Anne. Unfortunately, the lady seems less than keen and perhaps already has her sights set on higher targets.

All too soon James finds himself accused of murdering someone with an arrow in the presence of the king. The Brehon, however, is an astute lawyer who can see past appearances and realises very quickly that the fatal wound was not made by an arrow. This begins a whole chain of investigation. How was the murder really committed? Who stood to benefit? And why was James selected to take the blame? Entertaining and enjoyable, this is the first in a new series by prolific author Cora Harrison.