Raleigh - Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches
Book Review

book cover image
Publication Date: 1st May 2022
Publisher: Preseli Press
Page Length: 332 Pages
Series: The Elizabethan Series, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction


Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

My Thoughts

Not much is known of the very early years of Walter Raleigh, so the story begins when he is approaching 30 and training to be a lawyer, a profession that fails to excite him. His aspiration is to become a courtier at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and in this, the final novel of the trilogy, we follow Raleigh's path to fame and fortune.

Raleigh knows his lowly birth is a hindrance and what he needs is a patron. A chance meeting with a friend takes him into the world of the theatre and an introduction to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the Queen's foremost favourite, but Raleigh misses this opportunity to impress.

At his mother's suggestion, Raleigh asks for help from his elder half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and joins his voyage of exploration and colonisation to the New World, commanding The Falcon. The venture is abandoned when winter storms decimate the fleet, but Raleigh disobeys orders to return to Plymouth and with the support of his crew sails for the West Indies. But this, too, ends in failure, and Raleigh returns to Plymouth with a damaged ship and a reduced crew.

Burdened by guilt and mounting debt, Raleigh descends into drunkeness and fighting in the streets, which leads to imprisonment in the Marshalsea and the Fleet. His troublesome behaviour comes to the notice of Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's principal secretary and spymaster, who offers Raleigh a chance to redeem himself by way of service in Ireland. Raleigh accredits himself well, dutifully carrying out tasks that are abhorrent to him. He is recalled from Ireland and is appointed an Esquire of the Body in the royal household, where he quickly becomes one of the Queen's favourites and reaps the rewards of estates, trade monopolies and other privileges, as well as a knighthood. However, like the other favourites, he falls out of favour and spends time in the Tower of London.

Of the three of Queen Elizabeth I's favourites (Drake – Tudor Corsair and Essex – Tudor Rebel being the other two), it is Raleigh that I liked best. Riches portrayal of him is of a charming and compassionate man, outraged by cruelty and injustice, especially due to his experiences in Ireland. He is not ruthless in pursuit of his goals, but heeds advice and takes advantage of the opportunities that are presented to him.

Raleigh is credited with introducing tobacco and potatoes to England and founding the colony of Roanoke Island. The latter I found very interesting, as Raleigh never sailed to the New World. He funded the expeditions, but never received permission from Queen Elizabeth I to actually go.

Another myth Riches dispels, and one of the first things that springs to mind at the mention of Raleigh's name, is Raleigh throwing his cloak over a puddle so that Queen Elizabeth wouldn't get her feet wet. There is no evidence to suggest this happened, but I could imagine Raleigh doing just that as he was noted for his charm and chivalry. Riches also endows him with compassion and a sense of honour. The inclusion of some of Raleigh's poetry was an added bonus, revealing his thoughts and emotional reactions to various events in his life.

Raleigh - Tudor Adventurer is an excellent conclusion to The Elizabethans trilogy and I eagerly await Tony Riches next novel.

Where to Purchase

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link : Amazon AU : Amazon CA : : Amazon US

Meet the Author

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the lives of the Tudors. He also runs the popular ‘Stories of the Tudors’ podcast, and posts book reviews, author interviews and guest posts at his blog, The Writing Desk.

For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

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  1. I am so glad you enjoyed Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer. Thank you so much for hosting today's tour stop.
    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

  2. Sounds really interesting!

    Thanks for sharing this review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

    1. I learned a lot about Raleigh from this novel.