After the tragic romance of Jane the Quene, the second book in The Seymour Saga trilogy, The Path to Somerset, takes a dark turn through an era in which Henry VIII descends into cynicism, suspicion and fits of madness – and in which mistakes mean death. Edward Seymour’s future is uncertain. Although his sister Jane bore Henry the son he’d sought for twenty years, when she died in childbirth, Henry’s good nature died with her. Now the fiercely ambitious Edward must carve a difficult path through Henry’s shifting principles and wives. Challenged at every turn by his nemesis, Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Edward must embrace ruthlessness in order to safeguard not only his own future but England’s as well. This is the account of Henry’s tumultuous reign, as seen through the eyes of two opponents whose fierce disagreements over religion and common decency fuel epic struggles for the soul of the nation. And for power.
The Path to Somerset (The Seymour Saga Book 2)
Janet Wertman, author
Wertman’s second book of the Seymour Saga (after Jane the Quene) moves confidently through the dark, final years of Henry VIII as well as through the vicious power struggle between soldier/politician Edward Seymour and Bishop Stephen Gardiner. In 1539, Henry is mourning Jane Seymour, his third wife and Edward’s sister, who died giving birth to the son he had long wanted. A depressed Henry arranges a political marriage to Anne of Cleves, which is never consummated and quickly annulled once he becomes smitten with 17-year-old Catherine Howard (Henry is 49 at the time). Catherine becomes queen and the simmering Seymour-Howard feud—between Edward and the Howard family ally, Gardiner—flares. Wertman dives into the rivalry between Edward and Gardiner: their political power struggle; religious disagreements (reformist and papist, respectively), and schemes to make each other appear as traitors in the eyes of an unstable king. Wertman provides a stark image of the aging, volatile king: a prolific executioner who sends two wives and numerous others to the scaffold; suffers from painful, rancid leg ulcers; and spends extravagantly on finery while budgeting poorly for a military campaign against Scotland. The novel’s sweeping historic detail and bewitching blend of rivalries and romances will dazzle devotees of Tudor England. (BookLife)