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The Queen's Bastard

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  1,926 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews

Historians have long whispered that Elizabeth "the Virgin Queen's" passionate, lifelong affair with Robin Dudley, Earl of Leicester, may have led to the birth of a son, Arthur Dudley. In this exquisite sequel to The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Robin Maxwell fashions a stunning fictional account of the child switched at birth by a lady-in-waiting who foresaw the deleteriou
Paperback, 436 pages
Published June 15th 2000 by Scribner (first published January 1st 1999)
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What would have happened if Queen Elizabeth I had an illegitimate son and he lived to tell the tale?This book gives an answer of sorts.The book follows the queen's son's adventures and it also follows the story of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley's relationship.I liked the vivid descriptions about horses,english towns,country life and battles.Although,I found the relationship between Robert and the Queen plausible I felt I couldn't say the same for the story of Arthur Dudley.

His exploits seemed far f
Elisa Mesiani
Jun 11, 2012 Elisa Mesiani rated it it was amazing
"Mio affezionato popolo," cominciò Elisabetta con voce vigorosa e ferma "i miei consiglieri,temendo per la mia vita, non volevano che io venissi qui fra di voi. Ma come potete vedere non ho prestato loro ascolto, perché io credo nella lealtà dei miei sudditi che sono la mia forza e non la mia debolezza. E così sono venuta qui, al culmine della battaglia, per vivere o morire con voi! Posso avere il corpo debole e fragile di una donna," proseguì Elisabetta, la voce elevata fin quasi a un grido "ma ...more
Oct 03, 2009 Tamara rated it did not like it
Dear authors everywhere,

Entire chapters in italics are annoying and unnecessary. Italics are to emphasize important points. If you believe your readers are too stupid to realize when a different character's voice is being used, you 1) are a poor character writer, 2) don't respect your readers and 3) could simply use the device of using the character's name as the chapter title.

For the record, I do not read chapters printed entirely in italicized type. Therefore, I read only about half of this b
Rodolfo Gutierrez
Mar 24, 2017 Rodolfo Gutierrez rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-marzo
Un excelente libro para los amantes de la historia el cual narra la vida del hijo bastardo de la reina Isabel I, el cual esta excelentemente bien documentado gracias a la ardua investigación de la autora y que une todos esos puntos de una manera magistral relatándonos la vida de este personaje llamado Arthur, he de confesar que me tarde leyéndolo mas de lo que esperaba pero es que hay ciertas partes en las cuales la narrativa se hace un poco pesada y un tanto aburrida pero fuera de eso nos llena ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Monica rated it liked it
I wish the book focused more on Arthur Dudley and less on the Queen and Robert Dudley. I understand the need for historical context, however the switching in perspective was distracting and in my opinion unnecessary.
Elizabeth Sulzby
Sep 03, 2013 Elizabeth Sulzby rated it really liked it
In this book in which Robin Maxwell draws upon some historic clues to posit that Queen Elizabeth and Robin Dudley had a baby early in their relationship. The pregnancy was hidden through cleverness of dressing and also the Queen's summer "Progress" in which she travels throughout the realm to show her support for the people and gain theirs for herself. I am reading this historical fiction just after reading a history of Catherine de Medici, Queen and Queen Regent of France during the Valois reig ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing
A richly atmospheric historical novel hypothesizing the claim of one Arthur Dudley, and the premise that his claim to be a son of Elizabeth I and her paramour Robert Dudley was true.
We are certain that Elizabeth II, a vital woman with a strong appetite for things physical like dancing, riding and hunting was no virgin!
And we can be sure that her great love relationship with Robert Dudley had a physical side.
Could her relationship have led to the birth of a child, whose pregnancy she hid on one o
Milly Dunaway
Feb 15, 2017 Milly Dunaway rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by Robin Maxwell and it won't be my last. I really enjoyed how she put these characters into real history. Here she writes of a young man named Arthur Dudley, the illegitimate son of Queen Elizabeth I and her lover, Robin Dudley the Earl of Leicester. It includes a first person narration by Arthur which adds life to the story and makes it almost believeable.
Mar 13, 2009 Tita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus, livros-2009
Este livro conta-nos a história de Arthur Dudley, filho de Isabel I e de Robin Dudley.
No entanto, aquando do seu nascimento, a parteira, em conluio com Kat (fiel criada e amiga de Isabel) e Cecil, trocam o bebé por um nado-morto.
Kat entrega Arthur a um seu amigo, para que ele o eduque como sendo seu filho. Arthur só descobre a verdade sobre os seus pais, quando o seu pai adoptivo está a morrer.

Ao longo do livro, a história é narrada por diversos intervenientes. Arthur relata as suas memórias, de
Jan 02, 2012 Peggy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy historical fiction
Recommended to Peggy by: found it in the Kindle lending library list
I received a Kindle for Christmas which came with 1 month of free Amazon Prime. This allowed me to pick out 1 book to be "lent" to my Kindle; it will disappear from my books at the end of the month. Since I love historical fiction I picked out this book.

I'm giving it a 3 star rating. Would have given it a 4 star rating but it seemed to drag a little in the middle of the story. I would still recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction, especially British history set during the time of El
Feb 03, 2015 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Robin Maxwell could write an entire book based on someone who may never even have existed and make you believe that he quite possibly did. This is a fascinating story about Arthur Dudley, purported to be the illegitimate son of Queen Elizabeth and her Horsemaster, Robin Dudley. There is no doubt that the two carried on a long and tempestuous love affair; however, historical accounts are relatively silent about the existence of any offspring from this relationship. Nevertheless, Maxwell foun ...more
Susana Ellis
Oct 12, 2016 Susana Ellis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I've watched too many Dateline episodes to really believe Arthur Dudley was the son of Elizabeth and Leicester, but it intrigues me that he COULD have been. The author has at least convinced me that it was possible, and that's why I couldn't stop reading. But then, I believed the Polish woman who claimed to be the Arch-Duchess Anastasia might possibly be telling the truth—until DNA proved she was not.

But I liked the Queen portrayed as a real person, an imperfect, compassionate woman, and not the
Whitney Archibald
Nov 13, 2008 Whitney Archibald rated it liked it
Recommended to Whitney by: Susie
Fun, interesting read, but it made me start to worry about my historical education. I'm a bit too fond of historical fiction, and would be hard-pressed to have to separate fact from the fiction on a test. I guess all history is fictional to a degree, but this fits in the same category as Pope Joan -- an author taking an unsubstantiated rumor from history and running with it. Which is what makes both books so interesting and fun to read. It made me want to learn more about this time period.

Feb 28, 2008 James rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nobody with a brain
If you ever found yourself sitting around after watching the yearly Queen Elizabeth movie and thinking, "Man, will the whole Elizabeth story thing EVER get old?" then this book shouts, "YES! IT'S OLD!" Had to force myself to finish it. Several times, after a few chapters, I felt I'd watched some Wal-Mart produced, Hallmark channel morality play that a crazed producer decided to set in Elizabethan England instead of the Cracker Barrel-esque Smokey Mountains. The most redeeming part of the book is ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Malaka rated it liked it
I randomly picked this book without a recommendation which usually leads to disaster, but I liked it! At some points it got into war strategies a little too heavily, but otherwise it was a good story. At some points the author didn't seem to follow up completely.. for instance the queen demanded that she wants him arrested immediately and then killed. The next chapter is several years later and he's still free and living, so there was definitely something missing. This happened a few times.

I lik
May 22, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it
A thoroughly fascinating read on the "possible" illegitimate child between Queen Elizabeth and Robin Dudley.
The story is fiction, but with roots in history, which makes this an exciting and consuming book.
As a fan of the Showtime show "The Tudors"-my fascination with the Tudor line keeps growing. I instantly picked up this book in a bargain section of Barnes & Nobles.
Tudor fans will enjoy it!
Oct 22, 2012 Faithfulmommy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was a good story. Parts of it were a little slow but I enjoyed the majority of the book and found it entertaining. My favorite part was at the end when the author told what the actual facts were regarding the story that she wove her tail from.
CmPete Tucker
Feb 04, 2008 CmPete Tucker rated it really liked it
I SHOULD hate this books since it takes a well known historical figure and puts her into a preposterous situation.

But I love it!

The background facts are well founded. It's as much 'what if' in the style of Harry Turtledove's alvernate history. As such - it is wonderful...
Charlotte Cox
Jan 02, 2017 Charlotte Cox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! just WOW!

Were it not rooted in historical events, the adventures alone would make for a good read.

Was Arthur Dudley the bastard son of Elizabeth? I won't pretend to know. I can tell you this: the book presents a good case. Alive with real characters and beautiful images and based in historical events, this book is a great read!
Mar 09, 2017 Mckinley rated it did not like it
Didn't like this one.
Nov 12, 2011 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Bem, este demorou-me meses a acabar. Não sei se este foi o livro errado á hora errada ou se realmente não tinha todos os elementos de que necessito para a historia me "agarrar". Também culpo a minha veia de bookworm, que me faz ter estantes repletas de livros para ler, continuar a comprar e ainda, não chegando isso, ir requisitar livros á biblioteca local.

Bom, chega de desculpas!

O facto é que este livro, embora passado numa época que me fascina e com uma personagem central que sempre gostei e ad
Morgan Dhu
Oct 16, 2016 Morgan Dhu rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed reading Robin Maxwell's historical novels, even though I don't always agree with her characterisations of certain persons, or her choices in terms of their actions. The Queen's Bastard is another such book - well-researched and written, fun to read, but not featuring "my" Queen Elizabeth.

Maxwell's premise is that Elizabeth not only consummated her relationship with Robert Dudley, but that early in her reign, she conceived and secretly bore him a son. As difficult as such a thing
Apr 11, 2016 Ana rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I wasn't expecting much from a speculative historical fiction novel with randomly unnecessary erotic scenes. But it was surprisingly well researched, and author really paid a great deal of attention to the daily aspects of life in Elizabethan England. The entire chapters in italics were annoying, the plot was maybe a bit silly, and the eroticism seemed misplaced, but I still really enjoyed this book. Maxwell's real strength was in her characterization and worldbuilding. I was left feeling like t ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Asl4u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book - and I enjoyed the reader (audible). good long story - nice wrap around in the end. Little bit sorry that I did not read Ann Boyelin's diary first as it was referenced multiple times -but the writing was good enough that even though I hadn't read that one - I dont feel like I lost anything from this story for having missed it. (I might find out different later - if I go back for it and then follow up with this one a second time - but as for this experience - the book stands ...more
Mar 22, 2011 Al rated it really liked it
A very interesting historical novel which develops the story of the romance between Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, and her horsemaster, as well as lifelong friend, Robert Dudley, later the Earl of Leicester. The author develops the story of Arthur Dudley who claimed to be their bastard son and actually convinced King Philip of Spain that he was actually their son, resulting in his imprisonment by Philip and the end of any historical record of his life. The story begins shortly after Elizabeth's ...more
May 28, 2016 Lindsey rated it really liked it
This had been sitting on my shelf for awhile and I had read it before but I still enjoyed this "what if" take on Elizabeth's reign. The story alternates between the story of Elizabeth, her reign and her relationship with Robin Dudley and the first person narrative of their son Arthur Southern/Dudley. The historical note at the end makes this "what if" even more intriguing as it reveals there actually was an Arthur at that time claiming to be the bastard son of the queen and this Arthur was actua ...more
Jun 07, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
I was actually getting a little tired of reading stories about the Tudor family, so this sat on my shelf for over a year before I decided to give it a go. It is about Queen Elizabeth, but more about her "illegitimate" son. I liked that the story was more about the life of someone who was Not royal living in that time period. It was interesting to think about daily life for the common people that lived under Elizabeth's rule. The author explains at the end of the book that although it only a theo ...more
Sarah Wagner
Sep 21, 2014 Sarah Wagner rated it really liked it
I can't really buy into the theory that Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley actually had an illegitimate son, but it certainly makes for good fodder for historical fiction. I was also impressed by how much the author stuck to what is known about Arthur Dudley, who claimed to be the bastard of Elizabeth and Dudley after showing up in Spain in the 1580s, and created a plausible story. Fun reading, if verging on historical fantasy at times, the author certainly knows how to tell a satisfying tale, and hi ...more
Tasha Cooper
Sep 07, 2013 Tasha Cooper rated it it was ok
It should be noted that I am not a book reviewer nor did I enjoy English class in school, so those two facts should be kept in mind when reading what I have written.

The beginning seemed to have so much promise, but then....I'm not too sure who wanted the book to finish faster me or the author - the ending did seem a bit rushed. It was nice that it was explained where the idea for the story came from - information that I did not know, but I found that it reminded me too much of a harlequin romanc
Joy Mcginnis
Elizabeth I is so interesting that there always seems to be a new angle from which to tell a story about her. This one concerns an alleged illegitimate son of Elizabeth's and the Duke of Leicester. After his birth, Elizabeth is told he is dead but he is spirited away to be raised in the country. He eventually learns who he is and of course his life changes. But until that happens, the description of Elizabeth's life parallel her son's life and provide an interesting look at life in Tudor England ...more
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Robin Maxwell began writing novels about the historical figures she had been obsessing about since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," now in its 24th printing, won two YA awards and has been translated into fourteen languages. "The Wild Irish" - an epic tale of Ireland's rebel queen, Grace O'Malley - closed ou ...more
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