Mistress Of The Sea is an intriguing, intelligent read set in the Elizabethan age of exploration and sea-faring. It's obvious from the outset that this novel has been meticulously researched because vivid, historical details underpin every page. However, the history is written with a very subtle hand and it never once overpowers the narrative, even though it contains charismatic, real-life characters like Sir Francis Drake. It takes an expert author to combine history, adventure, romance and fast-paced storytelling, and Jenny Barden gets the balance exactly right.
This sweeping novel brings together all the best elements of historical writing and breathes new life into the craft of epic storytelling. Sharply-drawn, credible characters, perilous adventure, exotic locations and the skilful blending of fact with fiction, make Mistress Of The Sea a real page turner. By interweaving several narratives, the author ensures the momentum is never lost as the plot races to the exciting climax that keeps readers guessing all the way.
It's a long time since I read a book that satisfies on so many levels and I was glad to learn that the author is intending to revisit this period in the future. Mistress Of The Sea updates the Tudor world recreated in Philippa Gregory's novels, and explores the Elizabethan era with imagination, historical accuracy and compelling narrative. An irresistible combination for any lover of good quality, historical fiction.