Review: Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches

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.


Raleigh Tudor Adventurer covers the part of his life while Queen Elizabeth was alive. I was wondering when he would go to jail; I didn’t realize that I had to wait until the next reign for him to get into trouble! In this book, although he was busy making money, commanding as admiral, sending out fleets—though not always as captain—and acting as the queen’s advisor, I didn’t actually discover why he was so famous. The book was written in first person and he was very modest. Also, it felt to me more of a remembrance than “live action”. For instance:

The queen’s rapier-sharp, accusing voice echoed in the crowded privy chamber of Richmond Palace, silencing the chatterers of court. ‘You stare at our ladies, Master Raleigh.’

All heads turned to see how I would respond. The late Earl of Leicester once said there is nothing so dangerous as a bored queen – and he should know. There was only one thing I could do. I laughed, and saw the glint of amusement in her eyes. If the queen wanted sport, she would have her wish. I raised an eyebrow and glanced at her oldest companion.

It was very subtle. Although Leicester was long dead by then, it struck me that Raleigh was speaking from long memory, too. This may not have been the author’s intention, but who’s to know how a reader will react? So when he went on those ridiculous voyages to find gold, I knew he’d be coming back; I never worried that he wasn’t going to come out safe and sound. I think I felt as annoyed as his wife. He did seem to have a habit of easily getting out of trouble, although admittedly Queen Elizabeth exiled him from her presence for quite some time. I didn’t get the feeling that he was actually close to her personally, like Essex, and perhaps that’s what saved him. Elizabeth was obviously a dangerous person to take for granted; one never knew how she was going to react at any moment. Our Raleigh seemed to know just how far he could presume, and survived when the more flamboyant Essex crashed and burned—as we learned from Tudor Rebel.

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Meet Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling Tudor historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham.

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