Review: Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches

I'm thrilled to share my review of Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer, a fabulous fictional account of the adventures of Walter Raleigh, by historical fiction author, Tony Riches.

It's currently on blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club, so make sure to check all the other posts in the tour. And don't miss out on grabbing a copy of this fascinating story! 

Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer

The Elizabethan Series, Book 3

Tony Riches

Historical Fiction

Although I've known the author for some time – Tony Riches has a reputation for writing excellent Tudor fiction – Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer is the first novel of his that I've read.  And what a rollicking journey it is! I think I'll try Riches’ novel about Francis Drake next...

Sir Walter Raleigh was such a fascinating character, and Tony Riches portrays him very well. A chancer and adventurer, nothing will sustain his interest long enough to stick with it. He's young, ambitious – and lazy!

Raleigh fought in the Huguenot wars, but it did not lead to fame and fortune. A younger son, unhappy with the path his often-absent father has chosen for him – to become a lawyer – he wants to be a celebrated poet, but a brief stint at a new theatre soon makes him realise that there's little money in it. Then he wants to be a courtier, but he's desperately lacking the funds (his servants’ misbehaviour doesn't help!). So whilst he's keeping an eye out for other opportunities, he returns to his studies.

On his mother's advice, Raleigh contacts his elder brother, who is planning an expedition to the New World. He is promoted to Captain (without the usual training) with control over his own ship, but the endeavour ends in failure, but Raleigh's daring exploits have come to the attention of Walsingham, spymaster for Queen Elizabeth. In due course, Raleigh ends up as his informer, especially when he is finally presented to the queen – after a stint in Ireland – who appears to like his easygoing manner.

Not wanting to give away too much of the plot, Raleigh's adventures take off from there. Finally, he is a courtier, but the politics of the day, and the religious undercurrents, are not far from his daily life. He is liked by some and hated by more, and his lighthearted attitude to life receives a few knocks over time. When he weds without royal assent, even the queen turns against him, but he is soon restored to (some) power and pursues his explorations where possible. Together with his lands in Ireland, and in charge of Jersey, he regains royal favour, but on Elizabeth's death, everything changes.

Tony Riches has created a wonderful character. He's brought Raleigh to live as an easy-going, not-too-serious young man who grows into a daring and brave adventurer. But Raleigh is also a troubled soul, his life full of controversies and setbacks, both on his properties in Ireland and his expeditions. Yet his successes bring him closer to the throne, and he does develop a soft spot for the queen.

Raleigh is the kind of character every girl (and many a boy) would find appealing. Charming, superficial to the observer, but also with secrets safely stashed away inside. There are moments in this novel that make you laugh out loud, or smile wistfully, but we also see the harsh, brutal reality of life in Elizabethan times, which Tony Riches does not miss out. We see the rich court, and the miserable poverty in the streets. We see Ireland treated abominably, but with a strong sense of realism. We see the New World, and those Spanish traders, as opportunities to be used. This all leads to a well-rounded fictional account of one of England's most daring adventurers and the time he lived in.

Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer is a fast-paced, gripping historical adventure, very well researched, that keeps you turning the pages. Highly recommended.



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.

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About the Author:

Tony Riches

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 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


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