Friday, 9 March 2012

By Royal Command Review

By Royal Command (House of Magician 2)
-          Mary Hopper

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Lucy has become a firm fixture in the household of Dr Dee, a real-life figure who was court magician to Queen Elizabeth 1. Lucy, in return for saving the queen's life, has been told that she is to work as a spy for Her Grace and that she is to remain with the Dee family and await further instruction ...And then Lucy hears unexplained cries in the Dee house, and finds a young girl imprisoned there. What is Dr Dee doing? Lucy means to find out.

Having already saved the life of her beloved monarch, Queen Elizabeth, Lucy has returned to work for court magician Dr Dee, confident in the knowledge that the Queen’s fool Tomas will need her services again. Lucy is an extremely loyal person – dedicated to those she cares about Queen and country as well as her young charges and even hardworking but moaning cook, Mistress Midge. She is an easy character to root for and you can’t help but be wrapped up in her adventures. She is generous and kind-hearted, but her strong curiosity and innate intelligence ensures she makes a good spy as well.

This story is set around Christmas time and focuses on the preparation and celebration of the twelve days in Tudor times with so many small details lovingly portrayed. Once again I could picture all the greenery brought inside and smell all the baking and roasting done for the big day. I love the imagery and sensations described – and the enthusiasm as Mary Hopper describes the joy the ordinary people had at gossip about court – much in the same way as happens today with movie stars! Although a short book, which I raced through in one day I loved spending time back in Lucy world and was particularly intrigued at what Dr Dee and My Kelly were getting up to. I can’t help thinking they will be caught out soon…

These books are great to get young children interested in history, but a wonderfully invocative glimpse into the past for the older readers. I feel like I know the Tudor period more after reading these books than years of history study. Highly recommended for both – I can’t wait to read the last book in this trilogy – The Betrayal…

Recommended for fans of Alison Weir and YS Lee. 8 out of 10


  1. I am a fan of YS Lee so thanks for this review - I might like it!

  2. What a great way to get kids interested in history. Heck, I may get more interested in it. Will have to check out all 3 books.

  3. I am not a Tudor fan. Have I read many Tudor books...nope, but I just think the times gets to modern when the 16th century starts

  4. Aww I really loved these books - its a fab trilogy and Mary Hooper is a great writer. Glad you enjoyed them :)