Title of Book: Reign of the Marionettes
By: Sheena Macleod
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Excerpt: CHAPTER ONE
Grey clouds formed over London, casting dark shadows across the river entrance to Whitehall Palace. In the dimming light, Elizabeth stepped through a double door, set high on the crumbling facade of the palace wall. As she weaved her way through the throng of courtiers gathering on the cobbled courtyard, their accusing faces turned towards her.
Keeping her head down, she pulled her fur-lined cloak tight against the biting air and quickened her steps. Her thoughts filled with concern for her family. At forty, she’d already spent a lifetime glancing behind her, looking for danger. A surge of fear, tinged with excitement coursed through her. Could the approaching cavalcade bring them greater freedom? She dared not even think it. All she could do now was wait and hope.
Reaching the stone balustrade, overlooking the privy stairs, Elizabeth stopped and gazed out in surprise. All along the riverbank bonfires blazed into life and flames lit up the darkening sky. It was as if half of London had come to watch the procession of gilded barges sail up the Thames. The left bank of the river had transformed into a teeming mass, and shouts of, “No papists!” rang from the milling throng.
“Meu amigo, Baroness Powis.”
A smile formed on Elizabeth’s face. She hadn’t heard Queen Catherine approach, and she turned around. Her smile faded. Since they’d last met a few days before, Catherine’s olive-tinted skin had paled, and dark shadows had formed beneath her eyes.
She curtsied. “Your Majesty.”