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Extended Audio Sample To Shield the Queen: A Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I’s Court Audiobook, by Fiona Buckley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (621 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Fiona Buckley Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Ursula Blanchard Mysteries Release Date: November 2006 ISBN: 9781455175130
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Rumor has linked Queen Elizabeth I to her master of horse, Robin Dudley. As gossip would have it, only his ailing wife, Amy, prevents marriage between Dudley and the queen. To quell the idle tongues at court, the queen dispatches Ursula Blanchard to tend to the sick woman’s needs. But not even Ursula can prevent the “accident” that takes Amy’s life. Did she fall or was she pushed? Was Ursula a pawn of Dudley and the queen?

Suddenly Ursula finds herself at the center of the scandal, trying to protect Elizabeth while not losing her heart to a Frenchman who may be flirting with sedition against her queen. As she sets out to find the truth, she can trust neither her lover nor her monarch, alone in a glittering court that conceals a wellspring of blood and lies.

In the debut novel of her historical mystery series, Buckley presents the young lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, whose intelligence and sharp eyes might allow her to shield the queen.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A lively mystery series kickoff…Buckley shows a deft hand with strong characterization and creates a plot that spins merrily and wickedly through palace, manor house, and intensely beautiful countryside.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Nadia May is excellent as she takes on the royal entourage, but she is extra charming portraying Ursula as a clever, witty, sharp-tongued woman who has an eye for the gentlemen! The characters sparkle as May imbues them with the language and speaking manner of a significant and distinctive historical period.”

    AudioFile

  • “Buckley’s tantalizing re-creation of Elizabethan life and manners is told with intelligence and gentle wit. A noteworthy debut.”

    Library Journal

  • “An accomplished debut…High suspense throughout.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa (Harmonybites) | 2/10/2014

    " I'm a fan of a well-done historical mystery, and this is the first of a series that leaves me wanting to read more. I like the mix not just of historical and fictional characters, but of historical and fictional mysteries set in the Elizabethian Age, and the Tudor period is certainly one I find fascinating and is evoked nicely here. The historical mystery in this case revolves around the death of Robin Dudley's first wife, Amy Robsart which Walter Scott made the subject of his novel Kenilworth. Interestingly when I was reading this I saw a new non-fiction book surrounding this real mystery, and reading a bit through it, I was all the more impressed with the obvious research that went into Buckley's novel. I also liked the sleuth and narrator, Ursula Blanchard. Newly widowed and a young mother, she is a member of the court of a Queen Elizabeth who has been on the throne less than two years. Ursula is arguably too modern in her attitudes--but then its a fine line in making a character both authentic and sympathetic. I like her and the characters surrounding her enough I'd like to read more, as much to find out what happens to her than to read more mysteries set in a rich period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate Quinn | 2/1/2014

    " The first installment of a highly enjoyable series about an Elizabethan sleuth. Ursula Blanchard makes for an unusual heroine: a resourceful young widow who serves Queen Elizabeth as a lady in waiting, and is offered the chance to supplement her meager income by spying for Elizabeth's intelligence master Sir William Cecil. Desperate to support her young daughter, Ursula takes on the task of watching over Amy Robsart, the sickly and paranoid wife of the Queen's favorite Robert Dudley. Amy ends up dead at the bottom of a staircase, and Ursula must unravel a murder, a Catholic plot, and a disquieting romance of her own with a court gallant who just might be a traitor to the queen. Ursula makes a moving narrator as she struggles believably between her duties to queen, country, family, daughter, and conscience, and Buckley offers an intriguing new solution to the historical mystery of Amy Robsart's death. A strong start to a good series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 1/28/2014

    " I found out about this book on Novelist.com using a feature that finds books similar to other authors. I finally decided to give Fiona Buckley a try and checked out this book, the first in a series featuring Ursula Blanchard. Ursula Blanchard is a young widow newly come to the court of Elizabeth I as one of the queen's ladies. She is sent to help Robert Dudley's wife Amy. The story is based on a real historical mystery, that of the death of Amy Dudley, that has never been solved, though theories abound. Ursula is an interesting character and the other characters are also developed well. I thoroughly enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 1/24/2014

    " For people who enjoy historical fiction- I love reading about strong female characters. The story centers on a woman given the oportunity to act as a spy for Queen Elizabeth, its hard to find stronger women than that! A little heavy handed with romance, but a great "beach read." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 1/23/2014

    " Good enough to read on, great story with very little romance if you are over the "romance" in this type of novel "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/13/2014

    " (3.5 stars) This is the first book in the Ursula Blanchard series. Set in the time of Queen Elizabeth in England, Ursula has fallen upon hard times with the death of her husband, and as neither family approved of the marriage, she takes the offer of becoming one of the Queen's ladies, leaving her young daughter in the care of a nurse in a small rented cottage. When she arrives at Court she must navigate the politics of her new situation, and her small budget barely covers the necessities of her position. The gossip surrounds the Queen and her Master of the Horse, Robin Dudley, who is married with an ill wife. Rumors also float around about attempts to poison this wife, whose death would theoretically free Dudley to marry the Queen. To her surprise, Ursula is courted by a wealthy Frenchman, but his politics and religious leanings may prove problematic for her. Ursula is asked by the Queen to go to the aid of Dudley's wife and to see what she can find out about the threats against her. While she is a bit reluctant, she cannot turn down the generous amount to be paid to her by Dudley. Ursula is not warmly welcomed, but gradually earns some trust. It becomes clear to her that things are not right in this divided household, and she becomes convinced that someone is trying to kill Amy. By being observant, and using some cunning, Ursula gains some knowledge and when two deaths occur, she must work quickly to figure out what happened and looks to have to risk her family and/or her happiness to solve the crimes. This was an intriguing look at the stressful time in English history where religious turmoil and politics threatened to destroy a nation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne-marie | 1/10/2014

    " Ursula Blanshard, newly widdowed, is commanded to become a part of Queen Elizabeth I's retinue, but as suddenly sent off to "protect" Amy the wife of Robin, the queens favorite. Amy is killed though Ursula struggles to protect her and then Ursula finds herself married into the middle of a Catholic conspiracy to bring down the queen. Her quick thinking literally saves the day, but will the queen think Ursula was a part of the conspiracy. Wonderful historical detail and moving characterization. A novel approach to period writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 1/9/2014

    " I like the author but still like Phillipa Gregory better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meg | 1/5/2014

    " Interesting time period, very light "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 12/26/2013

    " Well-done cozy set in the court of Elizabeth I. Plenty of period detail and court intrigue. A quick fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 12/15/2013

    " Fiest of a series of Ursalla Blancahrd, a lady in waiting at the court of Queen Elizabeth. Good feel for the period (that Tudor era) and a well written mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 11/18/2013

    " Fairly well-written, for the genre...I might check out the rest of the series. I wish there were more about Elizabeth and the court though, and less about Ursula. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 11/11/2013

    " I might read the next book in the series to see if the story gets better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 11/5/2013

    " A fun read for those who love historical fiction and Elizabeth. Will definitely read the next in the series. Made me want to go back and reread my Elizabeth history books to compare notes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/5/2013

    " One of the better series from the time period of Elizabeth I I have read... this book is probably the best well-written of the series; the later books she doesn't have the consistency of the support of minor characters as she does in the earlier books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Daniele | 10/17/2013

    " Hard to get into and the mystery isn't much of a mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 4/25/2013

    " A good story with the right amount of humor, suspense, and intrigue. Not too stressful :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 4/24/2013

    " Entertaining but nothing to wrote home about "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 12/12/2012

    " I had previously started reading this series so long ago that I don't remember everything, so I started all over again. I enjoyed it more this time and was better able to absorb the story. Glad I re-read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roshni | 10/12/2012

    " Very bleh, a little too soap opera-ish, and while I do kind of like the main character, the overall plot does not have any spice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 7/16/2012

    " Super fun historical mystery fluff. If you like the brother Cadfael books, you will enjoy this one! Lady in waiting spy serving queen elizabeth... what more could you want? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Samantha | 5/27/2012

    " Such a good book. Loved how it had romance, mystery, adventure and being a historical time novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melissa | 3/6/2012

    " Mystery set in Elizabeth I court. Mundane. Not as good as I would have expected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginger | 2/29/2012

    " Nice historical fiction mystery. This book is the first in a series, but a stand alone book. I enjoyed the entire series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 K | 1/9/2012

    " well plotted, great attention to detail, nice characterizations...just a little boring...overall, though, i enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MommaLaura | 1/1/2012

    " Enjoyed it a lot. I love a good mystery, and to set one in the Virgin Queen's court is brilliant. Great writing, entertaining read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Camille | 4/8/2011

    " Fun and intriguing mystery with enough historical background and facts to make the storyline plausible. Quite enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 4/4/2011

    " Well-done cozy set in the court of Elizabeth I. Plenty of period detail and court intrigue. A quick fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Camille | 2/3/2011

    " Fun and intriguing mystery with enough historical background and facts to make the storyline plausible. Quite enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 10/18/2010

    " Fairly well-written, for the genre...I might check out the rest of the series. I wish there were more about Elizabeth and the court though, and less about Ursula. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kim | 9/3/2010

    " Historical fiction/mystery who-done-it. Couldn't do it, couldn't finish. I was drawn by her working with Queen Elizabeth in the tudor court...but was turned off by all the Mystery She Wrote. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Misty | 6/20/2010

    " This started off a bit slow but definitely picked up around the middle and built to a great ending. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginger | 9/17/2009

    " Nice historical fiction mystery. This book is the first in a series, but a stand alone book. I enjoyed the entire series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline | 8/12/2009

    " an enjoyable mystery set in the time of Elizabeth I "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 5/12/2009

    " First in the Ursula Blanchard series. Set in Elizabethan England. Mystery series. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meg | 12/18/2008

    " Interesting time period, very light "

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About the Author
Author Fiona Buckley

Fiona Buckley is a powerful voice in historical crime fiction, praised for her precise research and finely crafted writing. She lives in England.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.