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The Woodville Connection (Hardback)

Historical Fiction

By K.E Martin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Fiction
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781783030026
Published: 2nd October 2013



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There are many stories with which I bore my greedy visitors but there is one I never shall tell. Although it pleases me to confide this tale to my good friends quill and parchment, I have instructed the stout, dumpling-cheeked widow who sees to the comfort of my house to feed my writings to the flames the moment I breathe my last. I do not doubt that she will obey my order since I have bought her loyalty with gold and soft words, and in any case the woman is unlettered and has little interest in my ramblings. Thus I would have it. I am the last survivor of those who took part in the Plaincourt Manor affair and I have vowed to take that secret to my grave..."

The illegitimate child of a penniless knight and a woman of easy virtue, Francis Cranley is abandoned by his mother when his father is killed in battle bravely fighting for the esteemed House of York. Realizing the babe faces certain death without his intervention, the Duke of York decides to repay his dead knight's loyalty by saving the child, taking him in and raising him at Middleham Castle alongside his own children, including the youngest, Richard of Gloucester, to whom he grows particularly attached, displaying an unswerving loyalty from an early age.

Capable, quick-witted and handy in a fight, Cranley is chosen by Gloucester to untangle a mystery that arrives at the castle one wintery December morning in the guise of an old soldier on the run. Accused of murdering a child, the man begs Gloucester to help him prove his innocence. Years ago he saved the Duke's life and now he hopes the favour will be returned. Gloucester wants to help, but he cannot be seen to aid a man wanted by the King's justices, since the King is his beloved brother. So he turns to Cranley, who then embarks on a journey that puts his life in mortal danger as he uncovers dark secrets and is pitted against powerful enemies uncomfortably close to the throne.

A tale of intrigue, mystery and high drama set against the backdrop of one of the most dramatic episodes in English history, this debut novel from Kathy Martin draws upon her skills as a historian to vividly recreate the landscapes of England that played host to such events.

The story is told in the first person by Cranley himself and is written in a cross between modern and 'olde' English which gives is some atmosphere, and the story moves on at a good pace. There are some vivid characters, especially those employed in the manor house kitchen, and some astounding 'revelations' about the Woodvilles. 'The Woodville Connection' is not 'high drama' but a straight forward, unpretentious tale, easy to red and sufficiently absorbing to keep the reader interested - and none the worse for that.

The Ricardian - The Academic Journal of the Richard III Society

I found The Woodville Connection to be an easy-to-read medieval murder mystery, with much intrigue and drama, set against a dramatic event in English history. With its fast pace and some great twists and turns in the story, this debut novel from author K.E. Martin keeps the reader turning the pages, wanting to know what happens next. The historical detail of the daily life and customs of this period was fascinating, and, telling the story through the eyes of Francis Cranley proved an excellent way of engaging the reader in the action taking place.

The Historical Novel Society

The book is very exciting right from the beginning. The prologue especially got me hooked. I also liked the theme and the way the plot developed. The characters are all well defined. Another thing I noticed was the author’s ability to recreate a fifteenth century setting with the effective use of language. Though the language might seem a bit unconventional in the beginning, you get used to it very soon and start enjoying it.

 K.E Martin

About K.E Martin

Kathy Martin is a writer and editor with a strong interest in history, literature and collectables. She lives in Berkshire with her husband and daughter.

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