Beware the Lizard Lurking by Vivienne Brereton
Book Review - Blog Tour

Publication Date: 12th February 2021
Publisher: Yuletide Press
Series: The House of the Red Duke, Book 2
Page Length: 302 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction


Welcome to the candlelit courts of Europe!

Uninvited guests at a secret wedding.

A frozen River Thames.

May Day celebrations to remember.

The young Henry VIII, with the aid of his chief advisor, Thomas Wolsey, and against the counsel of Thomas Howard, the Earl of Surrey, is hellbent on a so-called holy war with France. This puts him at odds with his Scottish brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, and his older sister, Margaret.

Both Tristan and Nicolas know that time is running out for them before they have to…enter the Church - and into an arranged marriage, respectively. In the meantime, they remain at loggerheads over pretty Ysabeau de Sapincourt, the spoilt young wife of the hapless Robert.

At La Colombe, near Ardres, in Picardy, spirited little Valentine is still making mischief as she sees fit.

Across the Narrow Sea, Cecily is perfectly content in her beloved Zennor Castle, in Cornwall.

None of them know what Dame Fortune has in store for them. Will she allow them to follow their own paths…or has she got other ideas?

My Thoughts

Beware the Lizard Lurking follows the machinations of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, to ensure his family remains one of the most powerful in England. It is the second book in The House of the Red Duke series and comes with a daunting cast of characters. However, for those like me who haven't read the first book, there is a brief summary of what has gone before and a list of characters and their ages at the beginning of 1513, the year in which the novel is set. Both of which are very helpful.

Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, is an interesting but not very likeable character, although there are rare glimpses of a softer side to his ruthless and power-hungry personality. He has no qualms in manipulating his family to achieve his aims and even when he does regret some of his past actions believes they were for the greater good of the family. He gets his way by fair means or foul, but there is one adversary he is very wary of and that is Dame Fortune.

It took a little while for me to get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked. Events are told from multiple perspectives and cover events occurring in England, France and Scotland. I enjoyed how we get the adults' viewpoint as well as those of the younger characters, in particular nine-year-old Valentine de Fleury and eleven-year-old Cecily Trevadoe.

Valentine is a scheming little minx you can't help but like. Although only nine, she isn't averse to a little blackmail to get what she wants.

I found Beware the Lizard Lurking a very easy read. Vivienne Brereton has inter-mingled the fictional and real characters so well that it has left me hankering for the next book in the series. While I know what's in store for some of the characters, I'd like to see what Dame Fortune has planned for the others.

I highly recommend this novel to historical fiction fans, especially those with an interest in the Tudor-era.

Where to Purchase

Amazon AUAmazon UKAmazon US

Meet the Author

Born between historic Winchester and Southampton in the UK, Vivienne has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in Medieval History at university, and the growing desire to write a novel.

However, life took over somewhat and only after stays, short and long, in six countries she called home did she finally settle down to finish her novel.

Words have always played an important part in her life, whether it's been writing, editing, teaching English, or just picking up a good book.

Having three sons came in very handy when she had to write about squabbles between the male characters in her novel. Not so handy when she took her boys to Hampton Court and one of them got lost in the maze!

Seeing 'A Phoenix Rising', the first book in the series 'The House of the Red Duke' in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her. She very much hopes that anyone reading ‘Beware the Lizard Lurking’, the second book in the series, will enjoy the end result as much as she enjoyed writing it.

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