In a Treacherous Court
1525: Artist Susanna Horenbout is sent from Belgium to be Henry VIII’s personal illuminator inside the royal palace. But her new homeland greets her with an attempt on her life, and the King’s most lethal courtier, John Parker, is charged with keeping her safe. As further attacks are made, Susanna and Parker realize that she unknowingly carries the key to a bloody plot against the throne. For while Richard de la Pole amasses troops in France for a Yorkist invasion, a traitor prepares to trample the kingdom from within.
Who is the mastermind? Why are men vying to kill the woman Parker protects with his life? With a motley gang of urchins, Susanna’s wits, and Parker’s fierce instincts, honed on the streets and in palace chambers, the two slash through deadly layers of deceit in a race against time. For in the court of Henry VIII, secrets are the last to die. . . .
Brilliantly revealing a little-known historical figure who lived among the Tudors, Michelle Diener makes a smashing historical fiction debut.
IN A TREACHEROUS COURT by Michelle Diener
Reading Group Guide
While en route to England from the Netherlands, royally commissioned artist Susanna Horenbout discovers a secret that could jeopardize the reign of King Henry VIII. As she and John Parker, one of the monarch’s most enigmatic courtiers, evade the ruthless enemy seeking to silence her, they become entwined in a deadly plot that reaches to the upper echelons of the royal inner circle. In In a Treacherous Court, Michelle Diener brings two of Tudor England’s most fascinating, lesser known historical figures vividly to life in a dazzling tale of intrigue and romance.
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. As an artist commissioned by King Henry VIII, Susanna journeys to England for professional reasons. Discuss the personal circumstances that also compel her to leave Ghent. Why does she feel she has been “exiled” from her home?
2. The story takes place over a period of several days, during which Susanna and Parker go from just meeting each other to becoming engaged. How did you react to this rapid progression? Why do they trus see more