Innocent Traitor
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Innocent Traitor

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  18,443 ratings  ·  1,306 reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Alison Weir'sMary Boleyn.

I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live.

Historical expertise marries page-turning fiction in Alison Weir’s enthralling debut novel, breathing new life into one of the most significant and tumultuous periods of the English monarchy. It is the story of Lady Jane Gre...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Ballantine Books
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7th out of 386 books — 1,109 voters
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Lady Jane Grey, the grand niece of Henry VIII, and queen of England for just over a week in 1553 is the subject of Innocent Traitor, Alison Weir’s first work of historical fiction. With over ten works of history to her credit, Weir is one of my favorite British Renaissance and Reformation historians mostly because she presents the Catholic and Protestant theological differences of the era in an impartial manner without resorting to inflammatory or stereotypical rhetoric.

Innocent Traitor is a ve...more
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
I have read lots of books on Catherine, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth, Mary and of course Henry VIII.But I haven't ventured into his other wives stories/history yet nor any other Tudor relations. And I really knew very little at all about Lady Jane Grey. I really enjoyed her story,and found her to be quite a resourceful character.
Loved the part where she had to go to the "Privy" but was to scared to leave, so she just lifted her skirts and let it go and hoped the dogs would be blamed! As the reader we...more
Stacey Crate
Jun 02, 2008 Stacey Crate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Patty Jones, Sara Copher
Most people have never heard of the queen who reigned for 9 days after the son of Henry VIII died. It is a shame because I have always found the story of how Lady Jane Grey, great niece to King Henry VIII and girl of 16, was placed on the throne after Edward's death and bypassed Mary and Elizabeth's right to the throne as one of the more intriguing stories about the infamous Tudor family and the efforts taken to keep England a protestant country. Little did Jane know that her parents and Queen K...more
Bette BookAddict
Jun 02, 2014 Bette BookAddict rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historical fiction, Tudor history lovers
Recommended to Bette BookAddict by: Chrissie's review
Shelves: hist-fiction

Lady Jane Grey, born either 1536 or 1537, was highly gifted, precocious and intelligent but she was born into a time when her life was constrained by her parents and their machinations at the royal court. Her birth was a disappointment to her parents who, like most medieval parents, had longed for a son but they soon pinned their hopes on her marrying Henry VIII's son, Edward VI. But during Edward's final illness their choice for Jane changed, due to the machinations of John Dudley, Duke of Nort...more
I enjoyed this book, sad and flawed as it was. I knew the bare outline of the life of Lady Jane Grey, although, in spite of having read some version or other of Foxe's Book of Martyrs several times in my childhood, had forgotten that she is considered a martyr by the Anglican Church. It was therefore interesting to read a more detailed version of her story. Yes, I know the account is fictional but with such a reknowned historian writing we can be fairly certain that the events, if not the motive...more
ETA: I later read The Life of Elizabeth I, one of her non-fiction books. I found it much better. I gave it four stars! Amazingly enough it was the non-fiction book that drew me in, where I totally empathized with the characters.


On completion:

So what do I like (and not like) about Innocent Traitor? I like that in a relatively short book one gets a quick summary of Tudor history; Henry VIII, his wives and progeny, are quickly summarized so you can understand how Lady...more
Atul Sabnis
It’s much better if you love history. Even if you don’t, the format of the book should compensate for the lack of interest in historical books. This is not historical fiction, though the writer (Alison Weir) has taken the liberty of imagination at certain points, and to good effect.

The places where the text adds imaginative adornments are described at the end of the book, so, if you are persnickety about poetic license, you wouldn’t be too upset.

Personally, interest in the life of Lady Jane Grey...more
I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but Weir's writing style makes me nuts. I can't read her. I've tried three times now and never made it more than a quarter of the way through the book. My s-i-l, normally a woman with decent taste in books, swears by her and in fact loaned me this book and "The Lady Elizabeth." And I know lots of people like her style... I wish I could pin point what about this make me cringe. But her language use just leaves me flat, bored, and irritable.
Innocent Traitor is good historical fiction that isn't smutted up. The only real problem is the multiple points of view. It is not there are too many speakers, but that too many speakers sound alike. There does not seem to be that much difference in tone between Katherine Parr and Frances Brandon in tone. This could be explained by the education that woman received, but some difference in tone would be nice. The only voice that really stands out in this regard is the voice of Mrs Ellen, Lady Jan...more
Hrm. I think I would've enjoyed this more if it had been a straightforward history textbook instead of an attempt at prose. The multiple POVs are mutually indistinguishable, Jane at age 4 sounding the same as her mother as the queen as the duke and so on. The dialogue all sounds scripted, and the emotions are overwrought and rarely wring true.

This, from what I could tell, is much better researched than the usual Tudor trope, but the writing made it less enjoyable than the lesser works. I defini...more
Wow...okay just added a new author to my lists of favorites, Alison Weir now joins Phillippa Gregory and Margaret George as some of my favorite historical fiction authors.. This book was about one of my favorite time periods of history--the Tudor dynasty and the drama, romance and royal misdoings by King Henry VII, his wives, and his children. In this novel the King has passed away and the son from Queen Jane Seymour, Prince Edward becomes King, however Edward is a sickly boy and doesnt live pas...more
Mar 09, 2008 Brianna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction buffs
Pros: strong female characters, solid basis in history, intriguing discourse on the Protestant vs Catholic ways of thought and rule

Cons: I found the protagonist's obsession (in the form of fear) with beheadings a bit of an eye-roller. We all know what is in store for Lady Jane; does it have to be alluded to in every chapter?

Other: (1) I found Jane's mother interesting in that she was a strong, ambitious female without want of the crown. I would love to explore the true reasons behind her passin...more
of the blood. . .I think i might have mentioned once or twice that i am a tudorphile. As such, i have read (and own) many of Alison Weir’s excellent histories. So i was rather excited to hear of her debut novel Innocent Traitor (which may sound like a Nora Roberts title but is actually the story of the rather tragic nine day reign of Lady Jane Grey). The story is told from multiple points of view from various members of the Tudor court (the prologue, told from Jane's point of view, waiting in th...more
Sarah Sammis
Take my review of Innocent Traitor with a grain of salt. I am an infrequent reader of historical fiction especially ones based around monarchs. So I came to this book already feeling skeptical.

Innocent Traitor covers the life and death of Lady Jane Grey, known sometimes as the "nine day queen" for her brief reign before Mary. With all the political machinations on the various sides all vying for the throne should make for an interesting novel but throughout the novel I found my attention wander...more
Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
I loved this book. his time period has always been a major love of mine, and this one was great. It was told from several points of view which I find interesting. The story of Jane Grey is a sad one and this book portrayed it well.
Jane Grey’s parents desperately wanted a son and Jane was a disappointment from the start to her parents and her mother, Frances, was very strict to her. As Jane grows she goes to live with Queen Katherine Parr and finally finds some happiness in her life. But the queen’s death changes everything and once again Jane finds herself to be a pawn in her parents hands.

This was my second fiction book I’ve read from Weir and I remember liking the book about Elizabeth more. I found Jane to be extremely...more
Steven Peterson
Lady Jane Grey was born as a disappointment—a daughter instead of a son. Her mother said upon her birth in this historical novel (Page 5): “I should be joyful, thanking God for the arrival of a lusty child. Instead my spirits plummet. All this—for nothing.” Daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk and Frances Brandon, grand-daughter of King Henry VII and related to King Henry VIII, her parents’ ambition dominated Jane’s life. Her parents’ goal? A marriage that would bring the family power. The or...more
Historic fiction based in Tudor England is my (slightly) guilty pleasure, because its usually filled with court intrigue, gossip, romance and dirty secrets. This book had the usual court intrigue and the familiar Tudor characters, but did not have as much romance as I had hoped for, due to the fact that Weir actually stuck to the true story of Lady Jane's life as we know it historically.

I was very impressed by Weir's ability to marry history and fiction though, and as a historian, I do believe...more
Dec 09, 2012 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English history lovers
I couldn't put the book down. Alison Weir clearly rather relished being able to speculate what made a person come to the actions and decisions which as a historian she can't do. Nonetheless, she is completely faithful to the history involved.

I rather doubt her last view of Jane Grey's horrendous mother who spends the night before Jane's death regretting being a lousy mother. I never got any impression that she subsequently brought up her other two daughters with kindness (both of whom came to b...more
I was excited when I first learned of this book. There is so little known about Jane Grey, so for some reason I was under the impression that this book was the result of years of research. Boy, was I wrong. It doesn't really reveal much more about Jane Grey and her life than what is shown in the movie "Lady Jane"
That would be tolerable, but it just isn't written very well. All of the characters have the same voice. Weir's attempt to tell the story from different angles doesn't work. In an after...more
Apr 07, 2011 Padma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Arielle Beaman
As a true history geek I am always skeptical of historical fiction. However, having read a few of Weir's historical books on the Tudors I was intrigued in how she would do in the fictional realm. I have to say that her fictional books are just as exceptional as her historical ones. Weir makes a point to note where she embellished the facts in order to make the read juicier, something I found refreshing since most authors don't want to show where they altered the facts or lacked the clarity to kn...more
Charity U
Disappointment. I was really anticipating reading this book, but I had several problems with it.

1. The biggest problem. There was some very descriptive sensual action. (do you have any idea how long it took me to phrase that?!?!?) Also, the f word is used three times. That I caught. I believe there are three or four scenes of this kind.

2. It was written in the present tense. As in, "I call her to me, and ask her..." So that always takes a little adjusting to, and is a little (a big little) ann...more
I read this book after reading The Lady Elizabeth which was Weir's second novel. I enjoyed this first effort much more. According to family legend we are descended from the Dudleys of Lady Jane Grey fame (at least I think so, the actual family legend is that we are related to her). This is an unsubstantiated (I believe) claim though but enough to pique my interest. In many accounts Lady Jane is weak and easily manipulated or she is a cunning traitor and willing participant. Here she is strong an...more
Wow! I loved this! It was like watching a series of Shameless but with posh people. Greed, bad mothers, bad fathers, plotting, bitching, murdering, affairs, rape......phew! Really, you couldn't make this stuff up!

Seriously though, this is such a well written account of Lady Jane Grey, the young 16 year old Queen of England who only ruled for 9 days. It starts at her birth (to a mother who would have been carted off by social services today) and follows her throughout her 16 years by her own...more
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Tudor Tragedy, 27 Jul 2009

Alison Weir is a well respected historian who has written many biographies of the Tudors so she really does know her stuff about this turbulent bloody period. This book concentrates on Jane Grey who was Queen of England for a few days when Edward dies before she is usurped by the rightful Queen Mary. As we all know she met a gruesome end and its so sad as she really was an innocent pawn in her families machinations.

Not quite finished with this, but don't care for it all that much. It utilizes an extremely contrived narrative perspective. It rotates among first-person narration from many perspectives, but the problem is that all narrators speak in the dramatic present, as if the speaker were speaking at the moment of the experience. I don't care for that anyway, but when one of the narrators (the main one), Lady Jane Grey, starts her story when she is three, and the vocabulary, sentence structure, and capac...more
Well, that was fun. Well, it was fun after some initial confusion about the authorship in which I thought I was reading a book by Alison Weir and then decided it was Philippa Gregory and then realized, no, it really was Alison Weir. An easy mistake because Alison Weir is best known as the author of academic historical non-fiction and Philippa Gregory is best known as the author of pulpy but impossibly readable historical romance. And this was definitely fiction but not terribly romantic.

If I ha...more
Ron Charles
After publishing 10 works of history about the kings and queens of England, Alison Weir has come over to the dark side and written a novel. The process, she says, "filled me with a heady sense of freedom," but clearly that appraisal is based on the Historian's Heady Sense of Freedom Index, which runs from 1 (using colored note cards) to 10 (hiding in the library after hours). Innocent Traitor is an enormously entertaining novel to read, but writing it was obviously a process of painstaking resea...more
I knew this story but, took away from it so much more than I bargained for. Weir has amazing skills as a writer. The way she weaved history so accurately yet entwined emotional real, historical, characters that were believable and tangible. She has my permission to rewrite history books for an entertaining way to approach teaching and learning history. Wish I had this book in my hands back in high school it could have made me reevaluate what I would have majored in.
On a personal level this is o...more
This is Alison Weir's first foray into writing historical fiction and, as a historian and writer of non-fiction, one can't help but find her facts more believable than, say, Philipa Gregory's works. That doesn't change the fact that this novel is a mixture of fact and fiction, and while the tragic and horrific events are part of the black list of English monarchic history, Weir is still attributing words and thoughts to these characters for which there is no evidence, and also taking some histor...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her...more
More about Alison Weir...
The Six Wives of Henry VIII The Lady Elizabeth The Life of Elizabeth I Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life Henry VIII: The King and His Court

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“I prefer to be left alone with my books.” 202 likes
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