Book Title: Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer
Series: The Elizabethan Series, Book 3
Author: Tony Riches
Publication Date: 1st May 2022
Publisher: Preseli Press
Page Length: 332 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer
(The Elizabethan Series, Book 3)
By Tony Riches
Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.
He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?
The story which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.
Read an Excerpt from Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer, by Tony Riches
Durham House, London, May 1583
I could list a dozen reasons not to fall for Elizabeth Knollys, Lady Leighton. As a gentlewoman of the privy chamber, under the judgemental glare of the queen, her conduct had to be exemplary. Lady Leighton was also married – to Sir Thomas Leighton, Governor of Guernsey – and was a cousin, once removed, of the queen.
With a jolt, I realised why I couldn’t deny my feelings for her. Elizabeth Leighton was the embodiment of Queen Elizabeth as she could have been at my own age. Her lustrous golden-red hair was her own, her pale skin smooth and perfect. Her eyes regarded me not with fierce power, but with what I hoped was admiration, even longing.
‘You don’t dance, Master Raleigh?’ She’d found me watching the capering courtiers at the May Day celebrations at Greenwich Palace. The musicians played loudly, and she moved so close I could breathe in the scent of her perfume, delicate and sensual. Intoxicating.
‘I never learned to dance, my lady, and have no regrets.’ I sensed her gentle warmth as our thighs touched, and was filled with half-forgotten feelings.
She smiled, revealing perfect teeth. ‘No regrets?’ She turned to watch the laughing dancers, most of whom looked as if they’d enjoyed a little too much wine. ‘How I wish I could say the same.’
The unexpected sadness in her voice surprised me. ‘I was only talking about not learning to dance, my lady. I regret many things. I’ve passed thirty, and have no wife or children. I don’t even have a proper title.’
‘I regret marrying a man I rarely see, nineteen years my senior.’ Her hand brushed my thigh as if by accident, sending a frisson of arousal through my body. ‘My greatest regret is having no time for my two daughters, who barely know me.’
We were breaking the strictest rules of court, in such a public place. I’d not forgotten Alice’s warning about the ladies of the queen’s bedchamber. Be wary of them, Captain Raleigh, lest they harm you with their gossip. I’d been lonely since she’d left, and longed to take Lady Elizabeth Leighton in my arms.
If destiny brought us together most days in the privy chamber, it was adventure that drove my reckless feelings. I missed the sense of ever-present danger in Ireland, and had almost forgotten the rebellious man I’d been in my youth.
I lay awake at night dreaming of her, reliving every moment with her at the May dance. I heard the unmistakeable invitation in her words, and saw the glint of promise in her amber eyes. It would be madness to pursue her, a great risk to my reputation – and hers – yet I couldn’t put her from my mind.
She’d worn a jewelled pendant at her breast, in the form of a dove and serpent. I knew them as the emblems of mildness and prudence, yet in my daydreams I wondered if she was a dove, and I the snake who threatened our futures with temptation to taste the forbidden fruit.
I rose at first light to capture the lines of the verse that kept me restless in my bed. I shivered in my nightshirt as I sat close to the window overlooking the grey river, changing and crossing out words until I was satisfied.
Lady, farewell, whom I in silence serve.
Would God thou knewst the depth of my desire,
Then might I hope, though naught I can deserve,
Some drop of grace would quench my scorching fire.
But as to love unknown I have decreed,
So spare to speak doth often spare to speed.
Yet better ’twere that I in woe should waste
Than sue for grace and pity in despite,
And though I see in thee such pleasure placed
That feeds my joy and breeds my chief delight,
Withal I see a chaste consent disdain
Their suits which seek to win thy will again.
Then, farewell! Hope and help to each man’s harm!
I read my words aloud, sure no servants would hear my voice so early in the day. I had to say farewell, as there could be no future for us in this world. My intent was honourable – to end our liaison before it began. Yet some faint glimmer of hope and longing made me add a final verse.
The wind of woe hath torn my tree of trust,
Care quenched the coals which did my fancy warm,
And all my help lies buried in the dust.
But yet, amongst those cares which cross my rest,
This comfort grows, I think I love thee best.
Available on #KindleUnlimited.