Review: The Queen's Scribe by Amy Maroney

Today, I'm thrilled to share my review of The Queen's Scribe, the fabulous new novel in the Sea and Stone Chronicles by historical fiction writer, Amy Maroney

And if you love historical fiction in a beautiful setting, with a strong dash of courtly intrigues, danger, and romance, then read on!

The Queen's Scribe is currently on blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club. Find other fascinating posts here

The Queen’s Scribe

Sea and Stone Chronicles

Amy Maroney

This novel has been on my TBR list ever since I first heard about it. I found the setting and story appealing, and I couldn't wait to read it. And isn't the cover sumptuous?!

Young Estelle travels from the island of Rhodes, a stronghold of the Order of St. John, to the isle of Cyprus, where she is to teach the Princess Charlotta French.

But on her arrival, Estelle finds a court in turmoil. The princess is in mourning, the determined but handicapped queen is keen to keep the island under Greek influence, and the king is torn between guidance from his advisers and ridiculous demands from his illegitimate, handsome son, Jacco. 

No one knows what to do with Estelle. Alone and without friends, she attends court, but without the role she'd been looking forward to playing. Weeks go by, and she feels lost and alone. But soon, a new betrothed is found for the princess, from the noble House of Savoy, so surely now she'd need to learn French?

Yet not all is as it seems. Beneath the scorching Mediterranean sun, Estelle discovers the court is riven by Greek and Latin factions, each side keen to keep control of the island. She is on the verge of planning a journey home, but news from her father is concerning. 

When tragedy strikes again at court, Estelle seizes her chance. As a scribe and interpreter to Charlotta, the new Queen in her own right, she rises at court, but this is not without risk. Enemies lurk in dark corners, and she soon doesn't know who she can trust. Then she finds her very life in danger – and not just her own.

The Queen's Scribe is a vividly visual adventure set at the tumultuous court at Nicosia, where deathly intrigues match those of the Italian and French states. There is a constant sense of danger, sometimes stronger, at other times more subtle, that runs through the whole novel. It makes for nail-biting reading. Cue several very late nights for me!

Estelle's journey from naive newcomer to astute courtier is fraught with uncertainty, fear, and the occasional moment of happiness. Ms Maroney cleverly uses the Machiavellian plots to throw obstacles in Estelle's path. But she also gives her heroine a sense of independence, even of importance, especially during her time as Queen Charlotta's interpreter and scribe. Then, Charlotta's woes become hers, as she struggles to find people to trust. Even those she loves she's uncertain about, as they keep secrets from her. To keep her safe, or to stab her in the back?

I loved Estelle. Her early naivety is refreshing, her actions definitely those of a girl in her teens, discovering the world. But when fate intervenes, she isn't prone to panicking, but learns to use her head wisely, learns to plot, lie, and look out for herself. It's a steep, swift learning curve, but an intriguing one. 

Then there's Gabriel, a young falconer working with a friend of her father. But Estelle discovers that there's much more to him – and his refusal to reveal all threatens their budding romance. Will they, or won't they? Read the novel!

The setting of Cyprus was, as I expected, beautifully brought to life. The long, sultry heat of summer, the ever-changing sea, it's all there in its vibrancy. The author also mentions the then flourishing trade of ordinary Europeans captured on the Mediterranean island and coastal areas, and sent to Egypt to be sold as slaves.
And the sumptuous late medieval / early Renaissance court of Queen Charlotta has everything a court of that era needs: stylish costumes, ostentatious jewellery, rulers prone to the good life, interactions with various surrounding nations vying for supremacy in the Mediterranean – and most notably, a bunch of dastardly, scheming courtiers! The ambitious members of the council are shown realistically, reminding me of the Tudor court of Elizabeth I a century later. Each out for their own advantage, and easy to break an oath if required.  

Unique and captivating, The Queen's Scribe is an exquisite historical adventure that has you turning the pages well into the night. It's a story that stays with you, and I, for one, would love to read more of Estelle's adventures...

A highly recommended read!


A broken promise. A bitter conflict.
And a woman’s elusive chance to love or die.

1458. Young Frenchwoman Estelle de Montavon sails to Cyprus imagining a bright future as tutor to a princess. Instead, she is betrayed by those she loves most—and forced into a dangerous new world of scheming courtiers, vicious power struggles, and the terrifying threat of war.

Determined to flee, Estelle enlists the help of an attractive and mysterious falconer. But on the eve of her escape, fortune’s wheel turns again. She gains entry to Queen Charlotta’s inner circle as a trusted scribe and interpreter, fighting her way to dizzying heights of influence.

Enemies old and new rise from the shadows as Estelle navigates a royal game of cat and mouse between the queen and her powerful half-brother, who wants the throne for himself.

When war comes to the island, Estelle faces a brutal reckoning for her loyalty to the queen. Will the impossible choice looming ahead be her doom—or her salvation?

With this richly-told story of courage, loyalty, and the sustaining power of love, Amy Maroney brings a mesmerizing and forgotten world to vivid life. The Queen’s Scribe is a stand-alone novel in the Sea and Stone Chronicles collection.

Praise for the Sea and Stone Chronicles:

“Island of Gold is a nimbly told story with impeccable pacing.”

~ Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice Review

“Sea of Shadows is stunning. A compelling tale of love, honor, and conviction.”

~ Reader’s Favorite Review

Amy Maroney is the author of the award-winning Miramonde Series, the story of a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern day scholar on her trail.

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About the Author: 

Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. 

Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an Amazon-bestselling historical mystery trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy’s award-winning historical adventure/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus. An enthusiastic advocate for independent publishing, Amy is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.

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