No one believed I was destined for greatness.
So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.
As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.
From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.
Praise for The Queen’s Vow
“A masterwork by a skilled craftsman . . . Make a vow to read this book.”—New York Journal of Books
“A beautifully crafted piece of historical fiction . . . Gortner’s vivid details blend with his deeply intensive research to re-create Isabella and Castile in a way that the reader will find compelling and immersive, bringing not just the Queen but the whole nation to life.”—RT Book Reviews
“A fascinating story . . . Through his creative and spellbinding storytelling, Gortner’s readers come to know Isabella intimately in mind, heart and body as she lives through a tumultuous time, her intense longing to be the determiner of her own unique destiny.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“A novel of triumph as Isabella vanquishes her enemies one by one . . . [She is] a very human and appealing character.”—The Roanoke Times
“Politically charged, passionate . . . [a] well-researched, intriguing historical.”—Bookreporter
If you are looking for the perfect introduction to Isabella of Castile, then this is the story for you. At an early age she shows such potential of being the women she has yet to be become. She is an extraordinary women who often faced danger, betrayal, and uncertainties of who she can trust. I greatly admire her intelligence and determination. There are bigger forces at work in this story that I was drawn to other than Isabella becoming Queen in my opinion. I often wonder if later on in her rule of Spain, if she wasn’t so much influenced by the men around her- would she still have acted on the decisions that were made about the Jewish people. Would have all that have been prevented? But I believe she struggled with this greatly and did not relish in the killings of the Jews. Religious persecution started long before her time and has continued through the ages. This is definitely an intense period that Gortner writes about and I believe he has given us a realistic and brilliant portrayal.
There is a banner I posted on a review group saying. ”There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.” That is exactly how I feel about The Queen’s Vow. I highly recommend this novel and hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.