Unicorns Blood Patricia Finney
Historical fiction based on events
and personalities from the time of Elizabeth 1st in England ,
this book weaves a tale of intrigue and espionage through the
underworld of the era. We go from her Majesty’s concern for
her lap-dog’s illness, caused by licking the cosmetics on her face, to
a prisoner in the Tower whose arms are swollen and chafed by his
manacles and who cannot remember his own name. The Queen lives in a
world remote from her subjects, dreaming of a Unicorn enraged, ruling
her Court and courtiers and the nation through them. Her subjects live
in a world of dirt and strong drink, sordid indifference to the
suffering of others mixed with religous piety and sectarian conflict,
an ice fair on the frozen river contrasts with religous bigotry.
We go into Newgate prison with debtors and jailbirds, walk the
streets with courtiers and beggars, clandestine Catholics and Jews,
Puritans and spies, as the city is stirred in a search for a missing
book, the Book of the Unicorn.
An old woman , once a nun, who still prays
daily while living in filth and degradation, remover of night- soil
from the Court , grandmother of a Madam and great-grandmother of a girl
in the royal laundry, has the book. Within is a secret the Queen
desperately wants kept, and to keep it she will pay , while
others suffer and intrigue unknowing of the cause.
Mary Queen of Scots lives at Elizabeth’s whim,
it seems she will not listen to those who urge her to execute her half
sister and rival claimant of the throne. Puritans at court learn of the
Book and hope to use it to force the Queen’s hand against her
sister, but are frustrated. Nevertheless Mary is executed and Elizabeth
is vengeful against those who brought this about, especially once
she is safe from the threat of what is in the book.