Monday, February 20, 2012

What is Nancy Bilyeau reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown.

Her entry begins:
When I traveled to London to do research for my Tudor England thriller series, I extracted a vow from myself not to load up on hardcover books. There would be little room for purchases in my already stuffed suitcase, and mailing them home would be too costly. But that promise was broken in the shop of The Museum of London when I spied Peter Ackroyd's newest book, London Under. Ackroyd's London: The Biography, published in 2000, is one of my favorites, melding the most interesting facts about the city's history with lyrical prose. London Under wouldn't be available in the States for another month or two, and I simply refused to wait; I bought it that day. Slimmer than the earlier book, London Under tells the story...[read on]
About The Crown, from the publisher:
An aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father—and preserve the Catholic faith from Cromwell’s ruthless terror. The year is 1537...

Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain.

But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere for the legendary crown. From royal castles with tapestry-filled rooms to Stonehenge to Malmesbury Abbey, the final resting place of King Athelstan, Joanna and Brother Edmund must hurry to find the crown if they want to keep Joanna’s father alive. At Malmesbury, secrets of the crown are revealed that bring to light the fates of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionhearted, and Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, Arthur. The crown’s intensity and strength are beyond the earthly realm and it must not fall into the wrong hands.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must now decide who she can trust with the secret of the crown so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.
Learn more about the book and author at Nancy Bilyeau's website and blog.

Writers Read: Nancy Bilyeau.

--Marshal Zeringue