THE TSAR'S LOCKET
Julian Blunt, a former sea captain and a despised Catholic, is stunned when Queen Elizabeth proposes that he help carry a betrothal locket to Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Moscow. It means an alliance between England and Russia is brewing, and the queen warns that should the locket fall into the hands of the Pope or his minions, it could mean war.
Julian joins the queen's messenger, the lofty and spirited Jessandra Calcross, in a perilous voyage across the Baltic Sea and into the very heart of Russia. When a papal assassin determined to prevent the royal marriage strikes, Jess turns to Julian as the only man she can trust. Though at odds over religion and station, a slender emotional bond grows. Stalked by the relentless murderer, Julian is soon torn between abandoning his mission so he can better safeguard Jess and fulfilling his vow to the queen. If he fails the queen he'll never captain a ship again. But if he and Jess continue on to Moscow, they face a darker peril in the mercurial and sinister Tsar Ivan—a peril that will drive courage and dawning love to the breaking point.
... a truly excellent novel that readers will simply devour.
K. C. Finn, author of the Caecilius Rex series
There were twist and turns throughout, but the climactic twist at the end really caught me off guard.
Lesley Jones, for Reades' Favorite