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All the Queen's Players (Pocket Readers Guide) Mass Market Paperback – 18 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 455 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (18 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451613024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451613025
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,173,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 30 Aug. 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
realy enjoyed this book up to jane feathers standard well decribed england in the 16th century good story i enjoy all her books
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Are the Walsinghams Really Good For Queen Elizabeth?? 23 May 2010
By B. Ferris - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Intrigue is the name of Francis Walsingham's life, he loves it and is Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State. He's trying to proof that Mary Queen of Scots is trying to lead a takeover of England from her prison-like care by Elizabeth so they can go back to the true religion, Catholicism. Francis has a large network of spies through out the courts of both Elizabeth and Mary. His young cousin Rosamund is drafted to be a jr maid of honor for Elizabeth. Rosamund is a motherless, naive girl of 17 who has been without a mother for many years and her brother has been her caretaker, of course not much of one, but he has pointed her out to his cousin. Rosamund is an artist who draws with ink & paper so she is an asset to Francis. She ends up in disgrace very soon after joining Elizabeth's court but Francis sends her to Mary to do her best as his spy within her small court. Reading of Rosamund's life should be interesting but it just never is to me.

I found the book to be slow reading the last 80 pages were the best for me. I never warmed up to Rosamund and both queens seem to be silly, middle age women. We do know what happens to Mary and the book opens with Mary's beheading too. The secondary characters are just so-so in my thoughts and there are several most involved in Rosamund's life. She falls in love with Will Creighton and that is her downfall at Elizabeth's court.

I'm sorry I couldn't get into the book as I do like to read of the time period. I've never read one of Ms Feather's romances so this is my first book by the author. I'm sure I'll try her again though.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A so-so look at espionage and seduction in the court of Elizabeth I 14 May 2010
By Lauren A. - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
All the Queen's Players tells the story of life in the court of an aging Queen Elizabeth I and the demise of Mary Queen of Scots, through the eyes of Rosamund Walsingham, neice of spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. The first hundred pages or so of All the Queen's Players was rather dull. The novel begins with Rosamund witnessing Mary Stuart's execution. Then it flashes back to Rosamund's removal from the country into a life of intrigue and court life. Rosamund, who lived a quiet, fairly isolated existence in her family's Sussex estate, travels to London at the request of her uncle Sir Francis. She is accompanied by her brother Thomas, also a spy, and his lover Christopher Marlowe, the playright. Once in London, she discovers that she is to be sent to court as a maid of honor to the Queen while also working for her uncle, reporting on the Queen's moods as well as observing interactions amongst the courtiers. At this point in the novel, the focus is largely on Rosamund with chapters on Will Creighton, a courtier who becomes Rosamund's love interest, and the sexually adventurous Agathe, Lady Leinster and her lover Arnaud to Vaugiras. It is uncertain for those first 150 pages or so why the novel spends any time on Agathe and Arnaud.

Ultimately, Rosamund - who is rather innocent - finds herself in the midst of a plot straight out of Chaderlos de Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons and finds herself banished from court. As punishment, she is sent to Mary Stuart to spy for her uncle as he engages in counter-intelligence operations to get rid of the Queen of Scots. Through Rosamund's eyes - with brief mentions of Thomas Walsingham (her brother) and Will Creighton, the reader sees the Babington plot unfold and sees Mary careen towards her execution. Ultimately, Rosamund finds contentment, having managed to find redemption through marriage.

All the Queen's Players turned out to be a more entertaining read than I expected. The back cover seemed promising, but the first 100 pages or so were very dull. The novel took a while to "get going" and I had a hard time becoming interested in the spy games. Further, it was uncertain how the different plot lines were connected. I found the second part of the novel to be far superior to the first half.

The novel was too much of a bodice ripper at times - it certainly could have done without the Dangerous Liaisons copycat plot. (I found myself mentally referring to cetain characters as Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil instead of the names used in All the Queen's Players.) I also noticed in the beginning of the novel that the fork made an untimely appearance - earlier than forks were available in England. It automatically led me to question the authenticity of the novel. This was only heightened by Rosamund's rather anachronistic views of sexuality (the author "told" us that she was an innocent, but she was no Cecile de Volanges either, as evidenced by her frank conversations and flirtatious ways and her easy - and anachronistic -acceptance of her brother's homosexuality). In short, Rosamund did not ring true to me as a sixteenth century character. While the author seems to "excuse" this due to Rosamund's lack of a mother, she seemed a bit "freer" than a teenage 16th century girl. I don't want to spoil the conclusion, but certain actions described in the 1593 section seemed anachronistic for the 16th century landed man.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beyond the first 100 pages, it starts to get interesting 10 Dec. 2010
By Heather A. Teysko - Published on
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure I would make it through this book when I first started. I was just slogging through it, debating giving it up. To its credit, the story picked up somewhat after the first hundred pages or so. Lots of other reviewers have already gone into detail about the plot - Rosamund is a quiet country girl, supposedly cared for by her brothers, but mostly ignored and allowed to roam her home in peace, drawing as a pastime. Her cousin is Francis Walsingham, the Queen's secretary and spymaster. Rosamund gets caught up in his web and has to become a spy for him. Along the way, she has some romances and dalliances.

So. The first thing is that I found Rosamund incredibly annoying. You're summoned to work for your powerful cousin, who everyone fears, at the Royal Court with the Queen of England, and after only a few weeks there you think it's a good idea to play hooky? Seriously? You think you won't be found out? The author played this off on her being a country-bumpkin, but I would think that the average person of average intelligence (and we're led to believe that Rosamund is actually pretty smart) would keep her head down, avoid drawing attention to herself, and follow what the other experienced women are doing before testing the waters of what she can get away with. I know it was her first time to the big city and she got all caught up in it, and whatever, but at a time when a woman couldn't get a good husband if she wasn't a virgin (and you had to have a husband if you were going to have much of a life) Rosamund doesn't do much to protect her reputation, and I find her to be unbelievably stupid.

She does other stupid stuff too, like show sympathy for Mary Queen of Scots after she was executed as a traitor. People have been killed for less than what she said.

Seriously, she was pretty stupid.

I also found it amazing that with the story set around the theater, there was never any mention of Shakespeare. Maybe she's deeper than I give her credit for, and is commenting in some way on the mysteries surrounding who Shakespeare really was. But I don't think so. I think she just left him out. Weird.

The historical intrigue was interesting, and as I got past my annoyance at the heroine, I kept reading to find out what would happen in the story. That part made the time worth it.

But here's a genuine historical question, if anyone knows an answer - there was a scene with a swordfight between Rosamund's brother Thomas, and the villain of the story, the French chevalier. Thomas is hurt, and someone mentions that they should go bind the wound because it could get infected. Ummm...bacteria wasn't discovered until the mid-19th century. Even as late as after the Civil War, you still saw surgeons operating with dirty instruments. No one in the Renaissance would have had an understanding of infection the way we do today, or linked dirt and open wounds to infections. Heck, to cure diseases, they'd open you up to let you bleed! But perhaps it referred to something else??? Can anybody shed some light on this for me? It's driving me nuts. Did they mean something else? Was infection a general term used for lots of different things? I can't believe that there would be such a glaring oversight, so I feel like it has to mean something that I don't know about...

Back to the book - To sum up: Rosamund and the romances got in the way of a pretty interesting story.

Heather Teysko
The Renaissance English History Podcast - available on itunes
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Little Focus Needed 19 Jun. 2010
By Tamela Mccann - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Not gonna waste a lot of time recounting everything about the plot of All The Queen's Players, because quite honestly, there's just too much. Rosamund Walsingham, cousin to Sir Francis Walsingham, Master Secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, goes to court in order to learn secrets for her cousin and ends up disgracing herself, only to be sent to the prisoner Mary Queen of Scots to spy. With this much going on in the novel, you would think the action would be fast and furious. It's not.

Actually, All The Queen's Players has a decent plot overall, with tons of intrigue and romance set against the Elizabethan era. Parts of it were quite exciting and it was easy to believe events transpired (mostly) as written. But I just never warmed up to the heroine Rosamund, who seemed to throw away her chances way too easily and was a tad too modern in her views, especially in her tolerance for her brother's homosexuality. In a world where a queen was executed for her beliefs, Rosamund's "realization" that she wasn't particularly religious felt hollow, and it certainly didn't take her very long to awaken to her exuberant sexuality. The side plot with the chevalier and countess was totally unnecessary (besides adding salaciousness) and the ending was rushed, almost as though the author wasn't sure how to end her story after all the backstabbing and wrangling for position.

Rant time: Are publishers even employing editors anymore? Several times I was yanked out of the reading by passages such as:

"The subject distresses you." "It is a distressing subject." (page 330)

(quote)Rosamund straightened, tucking a loose strand of russet hair whipped loose (unquote), page 356

The repetition of wording in consecutive sentences was not only redundant, it was irritating. Other pet peeves of mine were the use of comma spliced sentences and the rapid changes in points of view, often even within the same paragraph. These issues made it hard for me to enjoy the author's superior vocabulary otherwise, and should easily have been caught by an editor.

All the Queen's Players has a good deal to recommend it, and Feather has been an author I've enjoyed in the past. I just feel that a lack of true focus on what was to be accomplished would have greatly helped this book along. Was it a romance? A tale of intrigue? A straight historical? You will have to read it to decide. Rounding up from 2.5 stars because I liked was just too easy to poke holes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A surprising good historical fiction 3 Sept. 2012
By G. Maisano - Published on
I dislike romance and I have avoided other books by Jane Feathers simply because of the covers. But since I am a sucker for the Tudor period and especially Elizabeth I and Walsingham (one of the most fascinating men in history) I had to give this book a chance. I was glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The historical details were well researched and I enjoyed this well written glimpse into the glory and grubbiness of the Elizabethan court and the machinations of Scot Mary. My only problems with the book were the farfetched set ups such as the heroine's talent for drawing (but I understand the author needed a hook to get her into Walsingham's service) and the feud between her brother and the Count Whatshisname. Jane Feather has a knack for historical writing but I would enjoy her writing more if she cut back on the romance and forced plot twists like dressing up like a boy, etc. and concentrated more on solid historical fiction. But that's just my subjective opinion and I know others like the romantic angles.
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