Planet Books


Queen of the North by Anne O'Brien


Historical fiction is not a genre I normally read. However, I couldn’t help being drawn in by Queen of the North. O’Brien has done her research and managed to weave fact and fiction together to tell a story of the time. 

This is a story of ever-changing politics, ambition and power. It's the story of Elizabeth Mortimer, whose family line has rightful claim to the throne of England – ‘It was a time when ambition ruled, when the house name was all.’ 

In 1399, the crown of King Richard II is under threat. Henry of Lancaster, who is Elizabeth’s cousin, had been exiled by the king and wants to reclaim his lands and fortune. Sensationally, Lancaster deposes Richard and takes the throne. And because Elizabeth has been brought up with a strong sense of the Mortimer claim to the throne, she believes her nephew – even though he is a child – has the right to the throne now Richard is dead.

Elizabeth is married to Henry Percy, known as ‘Hotspur’ – the heir to the earldom of Northumberland. Many do not want a child king, including her husband. Henry and his father have sworn their allegiance to King Henry. To openly question her loyalty to the king places Elizabeth in a very dangerous position – the Percys are in favour with the king and their power is on the rise.

Jo of Jaffareadstoo says of the book: “There are plots and counter plots, meetings with the Welsh Prince, Owain Glyn Dwr, and time spent at the spectacular Northumberland castles of Alnwick and Warkworth. And through all of the political manoeuverings, Elizabeth Mortimer comes across a determined and hugely intelligent woman who felt that she and her family had grievances aplenty against a king who was, quite simply, not listening. That it doesn't bode well for Henry Percy is enshrined in history, but what Queen of the North gives us so vividly is Elizabeth's interpretation of events as they unfolded during the momentous years between 1399 and 1408.”

I truly enjoyed this book and found myself invested in the characters and what happened to them. I may now read some more historical fiction!


Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.