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The Queen's Bastard (Inheritors' Cycle #1)

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  963 ratings  ·  123 reviews
“Wow. C. E. Murphy is good. Court intrigue in an alternate Elizabethan-era fantasy world: realpolitik with the sex included.”
–Kate Elliott, author of Crown of Stars

In a world where religion has ripped apart the old order, Belinda Primrose is the queen’s secret weapon. The unacknowledged daughter of Lorraine, the first queen to sit on the Aulunian throne, Belinda has been t
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,165)
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Deanna Roberts
I must first say that C.E. Murphy is probably one of my favorite authors. Her Joanne Walker books are incredible and her other series equally enjoyable.

This book, however, fell FAR short of my expectations. The writing was good, don't get me wrong, but her main character had absolutely NO redeeming factors. I kept turning the pages to find some good aspect to Belinda/Beatrice and I kept being denied any reason to like her.

This is one series that I will not finish. I was sorely disappointed.
There are times when I read a book so well-put together, so deliciously complex, and so generally OH-MY-inducing that I despair of ever trying to write anything as good, much less sell it. The Queen's Bastard, latest offering from the redoubtable C.E. Murphy, is one of those times.

For starters, the setting is quite unusual for a fantasy novel. This thing is basically alternate history fantasy--all the names have been changed, but any reader will definitely recognize Europe of the 16th century he
Ben Babcock
In many ways delicious, The Queen's Bastard is a well-written, evocative piece of alternate-Elizabethan-era fantasy. Unfortunately, defects in both its plot and its characters detract from the otherwise beautiful prose of C.E. Murphy.

At first I enjoyed the stalwart strength of the protagonist, Belinda Primrose. An unacknowledged bastard of Lorraine (Elizabeth), Queen of Aulun (England), she has been raised and trained as an assassin by her father, Robert Drake (Francis Drake). Belinda is, in ess
This book looks like a romance version of The Assassin's Apprentice. It is set in a thinly veiled version of the late 16th century (pretty much the only difference are the names--the redheaded, married to her country, virgin queen of a misty island is named "Lorraine," for instance) and follows the hidden struggle for supremacy. The main character is the secret, bastard daughter of "Lorraine" and her spymaster. Belinda spends the entirety of the book manipulating, killing, and spying in the cour ...more
April Erwin
I hated this book. I know, strong words. I really enjoyed C.E. Murphy's Negotiator series, and was intrigued by the concept of Queen's Bastard. Instead, I found myself cringing my way through the story. It wasn't so much the technical writing that disturbed me, as the story itself. I was disgusted and totally turned off by the main characters' change in personalitay as she came into her powers. I actually tossed this one into the trash. I guess there really is a first time for everything. Now,if ...more
Errr, I dunno, I'm listing this book here because I like this author and this book for SOME reasons, and don't like it a lot for others. This book started out VERY interesting with a complex heroine and some interesting world-building, an alternate Elizabethan-Era world with some magic thrown in. There were a lot of confusing turns though, and some outright left-field character behavior that made it VERY hard to plow through and continue the journey with the main character. I dunno, I might read ...more
The Flooze
All the right elements are in place in The Queen's Bastard: court intrigue, the lust for both flesh and power, tested loyalties, supernatural abilities. And yet, despite the inherent possibilities, the book does not deliver. The tale is long-winded, the characters unsympathetic, and the political intrigue lackluster at best. I found myself barely skimming large passages of text. The only intriguing tidbit comes at the end in Belinda's glimpse into the origins of her powers-but even the strange i ...more
The Short of It: Would absolutely not recommend; filled with horribly offensive sexual assault scenes in an attempt to add interest to unbearable, unimaginative plot and characters.

The Long of It:

I found this book for $1.00 on the clearance shelves of Half Priced Books, so I wasn't expecting much.

As I started the book, though, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing and storytelling. C.E. Murphy is no schmuck - she knows how to string together words better than your average Joe
Jul 09, 2012 Barbara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
This book is loosely based on the reign of Elizabeth I in England with alternates for Mary, Queen of Scots and an anachronistic Catherine the Great in Russia. The title character is the bastard daughter of Elizabeth and the Robert Dudley equivalent (so much for the Virgin Queen). She is raised in secret and trained to be a loyal spy and assassin.

This book is well written. The author doesn't shy away from the grim and occasionally downright ugly aspects of life in such a society, especially for w
Barbara M.
3 Stars...I liked it

WoW! What a shocker this book was! There were times I loved it and times I didn't like it. I had to put it down a few times just to get through it, but I have to rate honestly and say that although it wasn't an easy read (which I don't mind a bit; I love a challenge!) the writing was superb. There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of characters to hold on to and so many plots and places to remember but they all come together (eventually) and it makes it worth the wait.

I will say t
Mar 25, 2009 Victoria rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Victoria by: Joseph
Not nearly as good as I expected it to be. I've read only one other book by C.E. Murphy ("Heart of Stone") and it was erudite, respectful, a little run-of-the-mill, but GOOD.

This book disappointed on every level... most aggravating, though, were the many nagging details that never managed to make sense.

From the premise - a queen who has managed to bear a bastard daughter who acts as her spy, all without anyone suspecting - to a main character with a long wig of her own hair, despite having worn
This is not too bad. It's a fictional recreation of Renaissance Europe, with names changed -- England is Aulun, France is Gallin. Paris is Lutetia, which reminded me of Asterix comic books and kept me from taking the thing too seriously, if there were any danger of that. Also there is magic and sex (the main character sleeps with everyone). It is certainly amusing, but this fantasyizing of the setting frees the author of the necessity of historical accuracy (Parisian opera in 1587? Really?) and ...more
Jul 21, 2009 Liriel27 rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one; those who enjoy hating the protagonist
I hate the protagonist and want her to die slowly and painfully. I doubt this was the author's intent. Pick a direction and go - either she is a young woman making the best of a difficult situation and eventually heading for redemption, or she is manipulative scum and always will be. She can't be both.

I have cheerfully removed this book from my home and will not be following this series.

For similar topics (intrigue, supernatural alternate histories, kinky sex) handled much more gracefully, see t
I had a hard time trying to finish this book.

I thought it would be more fantasy, but I think it was just more 1700/1800 England with a bit of magic. There is a lot of politics, which probably didn't help me like it any more.

Also, it felt like the story was rather forced. Maybe the story arc in the other books make it better... but so far, it's pretty dull.

Maybe if I run out of things to read, I'll pick up the other books in the series.
This book disappointed me. I got a about half way through and realized that I didn't like a single character in the book. It made it a real chore to finish. In fact, I actually had to force myself to finish the last 100 pages. I am planning on reading the next book, The Pretender's Crown, but I'm not looking forward to it except maybe to see if a few of the characters find a redeeming quality or two.
erm...well this is smuttier than anticipated...

*Edit* and in the end it just wasn't for me. Not only was it too much graphic sex than I'm aiming for these days, but I really wasn't liking the protagonist. Maybe she will get less evil but I flipped through and it doesn't look like much.

Too bad but I'll still keep buying C.E. Murphy's other series'.
A friend called this Assassin's Apprentice meets Kushiel's Legacy. Indeed it is, but it's their weird dysfunctional offspring. I didn't find the protagonist all that sympathetic; given the opportunity she's pretty relentless in using people as she's been used. It was okay for a different sort of fantasy read, but I don't think I'll be reading the sequel.
In a world where religion has ripped apart the old order, Belinda Primrose is the queen's secret weapon.

Cunning and alluring, Belinda can seduce at will and kill if she must--but her spying takes on a new twist when her witchlight appears....
Blodeuedd Finland
So I am not entirely sure if this is a fantasy world, or an alternate universe, or alternate timeline. It has the essence of 16th century Europe and there is where she lost me the first time. You see there is with one particular person too much that is the same. Queen Lorraine, who has the same appearance, family history and more as a certain Virgin Queen. It is so obvious that it is her that it is not funny anymore. The rest she hides better and I liked that. But I wish she at least could have ...more
In looking at the author's published dates for books, it makes sense this book isn't her first because the writing has grown up a bit, and the characters are more fleshed out in the sense that it feels like the author is letting them talk, instead of superimposing her own wit and personality on them (as she does especially with Joanne Walker). It's pretty dark, more as a historical fiction than the urban fairytale she's given so much of otherwise.

Since it does come off more as historical fiction
The main character, Belinda, is presented in a way that is very female, though not very feminine. Her mix of strengths and flaws provides solid reading material as she develops throughout the book, and that same mix sets up a stunning domino fall for the final scenes.

Murphy has a gift with expressing emotion more than setting, and that imbalance is unfortunately obvious in a few spots. Her most annoying literary artifice is her swap between present and past tense depending on how the story is mo
Fully-drawn characters, a time and place that’s clearly inspired by Renaissance Europe without being a copy, and uncounted secrets combine to form a rich, complex and surprisingly compelling world. (And don’t assume that because you know Renaissance Europe you know what the characters or countries will do.) Not a classic fantasy novel with clearly defined forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil’; Murphy plays with comparative morality and duty here. (While I really enjoyed Murphy’s earlier novels, like Urban ...more
I write this review having finished the book mere seconds ago. I am a bit disgusted and a tad outraged, I think. I was set to love this book. I loved the premise upon first reading its summary. Shortly after beginning, I found the setting to be a poorly disguised 16th century Europe. Not an ideal setting for a fantasy, in my mind. So after choking on this realization for quite a few chapters, I decided that the premise was enough to overcome this. I continued reading. The idea of an assassin who ...more
This book constantly bordered between 1 or 2 stars. If there'd been a half-star mark, I probably would have given that instead. This book was kind of a chore sometimes. There was way too much interior monologue going on, a lot of thinking instead of action. Sometimes the writing was too subtle and just left me confused instead of impressed. Also the constant reminder of sex and desire got a bit annoying and made me feel like I was reading a cheap bodice-ripping novel (and there is actually bodic ...more
May 09, 2009 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!
Shelves: fantasy

Seriously a can't put down, page turner of a novel. Mystery, intrigue, fantasy, power, Renaissance style Courts, this book truely has a bit of everything and it is blended with style and wording that exceeds all expectations. Truely a worthy novel to pick up.

After reading the other reviews of this novel I must agree with them that the protagonist had few if any findable redeeming characteristics I find this a lovely change from the typical novels which may I say
Lori Whitwam
I'm not sure whether to call this fantasy, paranormal, or historical fiction! The world is like Renaissance Europe, but the country names are different, but similar to real country names, and the monarchs bear resemblance to real ones.

Anyway, I liked it. I like Belinda's role as spy/assassin, and her discovery of her status as "witchbreed." In some ways she is very loyal and determined, and in others she is totally hedonistic and evil. All of which make her likable to me.

Belinda is the bastard
Previous reviews suggest that this is very much a love it or hate it book, and reading through it, I can see why.

There are things that frustrated me majorly: the two main examples were the constant playing with tenses (which, granted, I finally worked out was about reflecting the main character, Belinda's POV vs anyone else's); and the decision to have a world that's EXACTLY like Elizabethan Europe except that all the names (both country and monarch names) are different but still 100% recognisab
I have found that Goodreads reviews can either be a hit or miss for me. In most cases I have found that I like a book that other readers have written off. With that in mind I hesitantly added the Inheritors Cycle to my shelf.

Unfortunately, in this instance the bad reviews are correct. The premise of the book should have made me fall in love with this book. Bastard child, trained to be spy/assassin by father the spy master who is lover to the queen. An imperfect heroine struggling to find her pl
Okay so tried to break from the urban reality I was reading to the realm of fantasy and was intrigued by a book promising a strong heroine, a skilled assasin and spy, secret daughter of the Titian Queen or Red Bitch Lorraine..In this story Belinda Primrose is cultivated and carefully hidden until she is of age to discover her somewhat disturbing sexuality and use that as a tool to seduce and murder any opponents to her mother's throne..That in itself piqued my interest but when you also add the ...more
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C.E. Murphy is a writer of fantasy novels and short stories. She also writes "action-adventure romance" novels under the pseudonym Cate Dermody, which was her grandmother's maiden name.
More about C.E. Murphy...
Urban Shaman  (Walker Papers, #1) Coyote Dreams (Walker Papers, #3) Thunderbird Falls  (Walker Papers, #2) Walking Dead (Walker Papers, #4) Spirit Dances (Walker Papers, #6)

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