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A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the… (edition 2012)

by Alison Weir

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3063736,480 (3.67)20
Member:SharS
Title:A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower
Authors:Alison Weir
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Hardcover, 544 pages
Collections:Your library, biography, History
Rating:***1/2
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A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

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This novel starts with a first person point of view of Catherine Grey (Lady Jane's younger sister) at the point of the first intrigue to usurp Queen Mary's throne. At first, I was a little annoyed because she had already told this story in Innocent Traitor. But the story carried way beyond the beheading of Jane Grey and through the politics of Queen Elizabeth's early reign. It is interspersed with the third person story from the previous century of Richard III's bastard daughter. It ties the two women together and gives a very interesting look on what Richard might really have been like and that all of the bad things we hear of him were rumors started by Henry Tudor before the Battle of Bosworth, when he defeated Richard and took the English Crown. As always, the historical details were impeccably followed from contemporary source documents. I think this is my favorite Alison Weir novel apart from Innocent Traitor! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 22, 2016 |
3.5 Stars

Alison Weir's latest work of historical fiction, A Dangerous Inheritance, chronicles the lives of two young woman - Katherine 'Kate' Plantagenet, illegitimate daughter of Richard III, and Katherine Grey, younger sister of Lady Jane Grey. Although they lived in different eras, the lives of both Katherines share several similarities. Not only must they both survive in royal courts where enemies intent on bringing down either them or their families lurk around every corner, but they are also denied the opportunity to be with the men they love.

In the case of Kate Plantagenet, once her father comes to England's throne rumours begin to swirl about the evil deeds he undertook or supported in order to attain and keep the crown, including those that claim he had his two nephews - the Princes in the Tower - killed. Kate has trouble believing that her beloved father, who has always been kind to her, could possibly be responsible for such a reprehensible act. When she is forced to marry one of her father's most ardent supporters and move to Wales, Kate decides to investigate the mystery surrounding the young princes, hoping to prove once and for all that her father is innocent of having them killed.

For Katherine Grey having royal blood proves to be more of a curse than a blessing. By converting back to the Catholic faith, Katherine is able to successfully navigate through the court of her cousin, Queen Mary, without drawing too much attention to herself. But when Queen Elizabeth I comes to the throne many of her opponents covertly rally around Katherine, seeking to depose Elizabeth and install Katherine on the throne in her place. Although Katherine sees herself as the logical successor to Elizabeth, she recognizes that with the monarch keeping close watch over her actions one wrong move could place her very life in jeopardy. Despite the risk, Katherine secretly weds Edward Seymour without Elizabeth's consent. When the truth of the marriage comes out, Katherine is separated from her husband and imprisoned in the Tower where she begins to hear voices calling out for help. Convinced that the voices are those of the two princes imprisoned by their Uncle Richard, Katherine joins forces with her kindly jailer to discover the truth about what happened to them.

Overall, A Dangerous Inheritance is an enjoyable and interesting novel. While very little is known about the life of Kate Plantagenet, Weir does a good job of plausibly bringing this young woman sympathetically to life. Weir's characterization of Katherine Grey, whose history is better known, is also well done, although given many of the ordeals faced by Katherine under Elizabeth I were caused by her own poor decisions, readers may understandably find it difficult to feel sorry for her. Although I do not believe Richard III to be the evil king history has made him out to be, the fact that he comes across negatively in this book didn't diminish my overall enjoyment of the story. While I enjoyed both Kate and Katherine's story lines in and of themselves, the constant switch in narrative from one Katherine to the other does interrupt the book's flow. In addition, the common thread linking the two story lines together, the women's investigation of the fate of the princes in the tower, seemed forced. As a result, I would have preferred their stories to have been told in separate novels.

Note: An e-copy of this novel was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
Contrasting between two Katherines separated by about 100 years, their stories were told in such a way as to the keep mystery and suspense alive even though, historically, you know the outcome of both lives. ( )
  Cleoxcat | May 28, 2015 |
I have long been a fan of Alison Weir's non-fiction books on English history. So, when I saw that she was coming out with a novel set during the 15th and 16th centuries, I jumped on it! (Somehow, I'd missed that she has written other novels). I couldn't wait to start this novel was very happy to receive it as an ARC. Having been a fan of her non-fiction work, it took me a few chapters to adjust to her "fiction" writing style. It is much simpler than her non-fiction (my guess it to reach a wider audience).

I liked the beginning of A Dangerous Inheritance (once I adapted to her new writing style)...I abhorred the middle (too long and drawn out)...and I LOVED the end. It is actually the last one pages or so that lifted my rating of this novel from 3 stars to 4 stars. Alison did an amazing job at tying everything together in the last few chapters. So many authors don't seem to know how to end their novels and everything just gets thrown into a big pot of words...but the ending of this novel made it all worth it. In addition to the novel, there is an extra "chapter" that goes into the research and real life stories of the characters in Dangerous Inheritance. I found this very interesting.

I think if there is one thing (well, maybe two) negatives that I found for this particular novel it is that it was very confusing at times with the chapter switching between the two main protagonists. Yes, they went by different names (Katherine vs Kate) and yes, they lived in different time periods, but....they lived in the same area and although each protagonist had her own set of supporting characters, it was very frustrating since many of the names were the same, ie. Earl of Lincoln, Duke of Buckinghame, five billion different Elizabeths (well maybe that's a tiny exaggeration). Oh, and that second negative...it just seemed too long for what I was wanting and expecting...

All that being said, I definitely recommend A Dangerous Inheritance for any lovers of historical fiction. ( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
“A Dangerous Inheritance” covers two periods of English history that are at times linked together. One narrative, covering the period of 1483-87, focuses on Richard III’s baseborn daughter, Katherine Plantagenet, referred to as Kate.

The other narrative, covering the period of 1553-1568, is told by Katherine Grey, whose sister Jane is known as “The nine-day queen”, though she never had chance to rule, nor was she officially a queen at all, for that role was undertaken by (Bloody) Mary Tudor. Jane and Katherine Grey’s mother was daughter of Henry VIII’s sister, thus the famous Tudor king’s blood flowed through the young sisters’ veins.

Alison Weir does a great job of swapping between these narratives, of which Kate’s is written in third person past tense, while Katherine’s is in first person present tense.

Both heroines walk the fine line between royal greatness and eternal disgrace. Each girl let’s their heart rule their head and this proves to be their undoing. The inheritance of regal blood is indeed a danger. To quote from narrative:

“Tangling with princes rarely brought anyone anything but ill-fortune and grief.”

One would have to possess a hard heart not to sympathise with these two heroines, both of whom I took a shine to, especially King Richard’s loyal daughter.

Although I’m quite familiar with aspects of English history during the times covered in this novel, I knew little of Kate Plantagenet's life and wasn’t even aware of Katherine Grey’s existence. Thus I found these stories – despite (and because of) the obvious fictional passages the author used to fill in the gaps – most interesting.

The princes in the tower make an interesting subplot. Kate believes that her father had nothing to do with her cousins’ deaths – assuming they *were* killed and not taken somewhere safe – and she writes down her theories, which Katherine discovers years later and becomes fascinated by the tragedy. She in turn wants to discover the truth.

I believe that a good book should be engaging throughout, while a great one should be continually engrossing – this novel fits the latter category for me. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 9, 2014 |
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When her older sister, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, is executed in 1554 for unlawfully accepting the English crown, Lady Katherine Grey’s world falls apart. Barely recovered from this tragic loss she risks all for love, only to incur the wrath of her formidable cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who sees Katherine as a rival for her insecure throne.

Interlaced with Katherine’s story is that of her distant kinswoman Kate Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king. In 1483, Kate travels to London for Richard’s coronation, and her world changes forever.

Kate loves her father, but before long she hears terrible rumors about him that threaten all she holds dear. Like Katherine Grey, she falls in love with a man who is forbidden to her. Then Kate embarks on what will become a perilous quest, covertly seeking the truth about what befell her cousins the Princes in the Tower, who may have been victims of Richard III’s lust for power. But time is not on Kate’s side, or on Katherine’s.

Katherine finds herself a prisoner in the Tower of London, the sinister fortress that overshadowed the lives of so many royal figures, including the boy princes. Will Elizabeth demand the full penalty for treason? And what secrets will Katherine find hidden within the Tower walls?

Alison Weir’s new novel is a page-turning story set within a framework of fascinating historical authenticity. In this rich and layered tapestry, Katherine and Kate discover that possessing royal blood can prove to be a dangerous inheritance.
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A tale inspired by the life of Lady Jane Gray's younger sister, Katherine, interweaves the tragic story of her imprisonment in the Tower of London with the fates of three other innocent political prisoners including Kate Plantagenet and boy princes Edward and Richard.… (more)

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