Author: C. W. Gortner, 2012.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Other Details: Paperback. 382 pages.
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she is thrust into danger. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, until, at age seventeen, she 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 whom she has vowed to love yet is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragón.
As together 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 a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, it will test Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny . . . - synopsis from author's website.
Having been captivated by Sky Arts showing of the first season of the Spanish historical drama 'Isabel' about the early life of Queen Isabel I was keen to read this novel. Right from the start the characters feel familiar thanks to the programme and I was easily able to keep track of them.
Gortner obviously is very passionate about this subject and that shows in every page of this outstanding work of historical fiction. He especially takes pains to portray the contradictions in Isabel's character and her controversial legacy to the history. He piqued my interest as much as the TV series had done to learn more about this fascinating period of European history. I likely will read his earlier novel about Isabel's daughter Juana, The Last Queen.
C. W. Gortner's page on 'The Queen's Vow' - contains downloadable excerpt and background from Gortner on the novel.