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by Alanna Knight
Allison and Busby, September 2003
224 pages
ISBN: 0749006277

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

What was King James really like? Was he really of royal blood or was he switched with a common baby at birth? If he wasn't switched at birth, why did he bear no resemblance to either of his parents, but to the people who raised him?

Tam Elidor, really a time lord, is sent back in time to discover the unsolved mysteries of the past. This time he is sent back to the court of King James VI of Scotland who is also known as James I of England, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. King James had the unique distinction of ruling both Great Britain and Scotland at the same time. The plot takes place near the end of Elizabeth's reign, and rumors continue as to the legitimacy of James.

The mystery involves the death of the queen's midwife. The significance of this death is that Queen Anne, the wife of James, is ready to deliver their fourth child. With the fear of the accusation of witchcraft and possibly being the object of the king's affection, Tam has a balancing act while solving this mystery. Also, the queen's court and the king's court seldom interact with each other.

The realism of both the place, Falkland Palace, Fife, and the time, July 1600, is inspirational in this novel. The problems of the time such as with Tansy, who has special gifts but is fearful to use them since they could be seen as witchcraft, is integral as well as Tam being recognized from an earlier time period, but not aging, causes constant wonder and suspense. Alanna Knight has obviously researched this time period well in developing this exquisite historical mystery.

The relationships within the court are what inspire the reader in THE GOWRIE CONSPIRACY. The entire court has secrets, jealousies, and rumors. The preferences of King James are definitely questioned and his relationship with his wife is always threatened, as well as his rite of lineage.

For accomplished writer Alanna Knight, author of more than 50 novels, this series continues with this second historical exploration for Tam. The first book of this series was THE DAGGER IN THE CROWN which explored the court of Mary Queen of Scots.

Reviewed by Teri Davis, February 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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