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Unusually for Alison Weir, who has written ten historical non-fiction books, "Innocent Traitor" is a historical novel, told from the points of view of Lady Jane Grey, her household and those close to the crown. Protestant by inclination, Jane is a helpless pawn caught up in the scheming of her parents and the ambitious Duke of Northumberland. Their doomed plotting leads to heads rolling and the lighting of the first of many fires of Protestant martyrdom by Catholic Queen Mary. Jane Grey pays the ultimate price, with her head on the block - courageously refusing Queen Mary's offer of a reprieve if she embraces Catholicism. She was queen in name for a mere nine days.

Told as it is from many different viewpoints our sympathy is aroused for the learned Jane and we share her dread and horror of an untimely death at the age of sixteen.
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on 22 April 2006
I have been a fan of Alison Weir's historical work for a while and have thoroughly enjoyed this book, her first novel. The reader gets so much depth from the book about the culture and lives of people in the mid 1500's...and you are aware that everything is pretty much as accurate as it can get!

I'm so pleased this book was about Lady Jane Grey and all the plots and characters that shaped her destiny. The reader gets completely drawn in, and it's very hard to put this book down. Although the end of Jane's life is well known to history fans, Alison Weir still manages to build the tension beautifully.

There is an interesting "historial note" chapter at the end of the book to explain which parts were historically accurate in the book and which bits were changed for the purpose of the novel.

EXCELLENT book!
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on 29 August 2007
Poor Lady Jane Grey. This is a hard novel to read. The writing is excellent, the story is interesting, its well paced and keeps the read enthralled. The only hard bit is that if you know your history then you know the fate of poor Lady Jane.

Saying that I didnt know much about her life but this book filled in that gap and added lots of info of life in Tudor England from midway through Henry VIII's reign to the beginning of Bloody Marys. So if you are fascinated by the Tudor period then you will love this novel. And if you are not moved by the ending then you are harder than me!!
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VINE VOICEon 29 January 2007
This is a beautiful novel detailing the tragic life of one of the most compelling women in English history, the Lady Jane Grey. It tells the whole story of her life from her birth right through her nine day reign to her untimely death. It is written mainly through the eyes of all the people in her life who shaped her fate. We see events told through her parents, her nurse, the Duke of Northumberland, Queen Mary to name but a few, yet most of the story comes from Jane herself.

I was a little unsure at the start as I don't normally like books written in the present tense, although the author's high standard of writing soon won me round, and I realized how instrumental this was in building up the tension towards the end. My heart was actually pounding in my chest in the end scenes as I got lost in the drama of the moment.

Fans of historical fiction will love it.

Congratulations Ms Weir on a wonderful story, made all the more poignant because it is true.
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on 9 July 2009
This is an outstanding debut fiction novel from Alison Weir. I was gripped for start to finish, despite knowing the story of Lady Jane Grey already. I was moved to tears at many points throughout the story by how harshly she was treated and what happened to her in her short life. I was a bit worried in case it was a bit 'Phillipa Gregory' - there's nothing wrong with her writing per se, but she is a bit sex obsessed - but this was character and plot driven with very little titillation in it, which was good news!

This seemed so realistic and painted many vivid images of the Tudor court in my mind. I didn't want it to end. I've bought The Lady Elizabeth to read next and can't wait.

A wonderful, wonderful book - more please!
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on 26 January 2016
I've only just finished this book. I got about a third of the way through it & then started reading it again this morning while lying on the bed... & that's where I stayed for the entire day as I couldn't put it down! I haven't even washed up today & my sole effort went into feeding my cats...! (I get my priorities right ,,,=^-.-^=,,, :) ) The earlier part of the book took a bit of getting into but it picked up a lot after this & I was pretty much rivetted by it. Prior to reading this I had watched the film LadyJane & I felt I wanted to know the story in more detail. The first part of the film was fine & quite entertaining as it focused mainly on Jane's relationship & marriage to Guildford Dudley, played by Helena Bonham Carter & Carey Elwes & they seemed to be having a lot fun in their marriage. He, in particular, was hilarious at one point in the film, (never mind his stunning good looks) but having read the book their relationship on flim bears no resemblance to what it was like in reality as they pretty much hated each other on sight. But it's a very sad story for both of them, because they were victims of political, family machinations, all pretty much self serving which resulted in disaster for them. They were only 16 years old, just kids really & they should never have been forced into such an alliance which was something neither of them really wanted & which they tried very hard to resist. But they were both pretty unlucky with their parents who cared nothing for their happiness & wellbeing & only wanted the power it would bring them. I found the last few pages really heartbreaking & I confess it reduced me to tears. Because, although it read like a really good novel, it was always painfully obvious that this was a life & death situation & something that really happened & it just beggars belief that people can be so selfish & self serving that they were willing to put their own children's life so much at risk that it could result in sending them to the block! What kind of parent does this to their own children. Oh, I forget, places like Iraq & Afghanistan as they are pretty much just as bad & not so very long ago a father helped other people stone his own daughter to death for the crime of wanting to be with the man she loved & wanted to marry. She was only 19 & that upset me a lot. Thank God we have moved on somewhat in the UK & I thank God pretty often really that I had the good fortune to be born in Wales, the Land of Song. The worse we do to our kids here is to cajole them into them into a singalong now & again...
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on 21 September 2006
Being a huge fan of Alison Weir's work on the Tudors, I was delighted to discover her first novel was about the tragic Lady Jane Gray. I was enthralled from the first chapter, and i thought it worked really well hearing the viewpoints of all those involved i.e. Lady Jane, her father, mother and nurse to name a few. All in all a fantastic read and I would definately recommend this book to all with an interest in that era. Buy it, curl up in front of the fire, turn off the phone and enjoy!!
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on 24 August 2006
The first novel written by historical author Alison Weir is a masterpiece. I just couldn't put it down, because when you're reading it, you want to know how she met such a fate. In fact, Ms Weir writes very convincingly that Lady Jane Grey was not so much a traitor, more an innocent victim of her family's greed and their desire to be the force behind the throne of England. In short, she was just a pawn in their game.

Brilliant writing, great style and completely believable. More please, and soon....
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2006
In authors notes Ms Weir hopes that readers will be appalled and enthralled by this story. She certainly succeeded. I was appalled by the cruelties but so enthralled by the story as a whole that I could not put it down. Ms Weir stitches fact and fiction seamlessly, so much so that when in her authors notes she explained some points were facts I was truly amazed. I would recommend this book to serious historical readers, to lovers of historical fiction and also to anyone who loves a good tale. The tale of Lady Jane Grey arouses sympathy in everyone and Ms Weir invokes this emotion well but goes much deeper into Jane's character and displays the stubborn and fiesty young girl's very real conflicting emotions
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on 17 September 2007
Poor, dear Lady Jane Grey, the eldest daughter of ruthlessly ambitious parents who craved a son, bullied into an unwanted marriage to a fool, forced into accepting a crown she never wanted and a bloody death at the age of sixteen. Despite the fact that she lived 450 years ago, it never fails to make me absolutely livid to think that this brilliant young girl was subjected to a life of such misery. It's a story I know all too well, but Alison Weir's novel certainly made me wish that by some twist of fate it could have all ended differently.

Alison Weir's decision to split the narrative between a number of characters (most notably Jane herself, her appalling mother Frances Brandon, her nurse Mrs Ellen, her father-in-law the Duke of Northumberland and Queen Katherine Parr) is extremely effective, as it makes one wonder who exactly was to blame for Lady Jane's fate. Weir's writing is for the most part very good (if a bit sloppy at times), and she succeeds creates distinctive voices for all her narrators. Her portrayal of Jane is wonderful- a tragic victim of circumstances, but also a stubborn, passionate young woman with a fiery streak of her own. It makes you wonder how such odious parents could have produced such a daughter.

Readers expecting a leisurely romp through the Tudor era Philippa Gregory style may not find this harrowing tale of child abuse to their taste (I defy anyone not to be devastated by the ending), but those who persevere will probably be all the more enlightened for it.
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