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Reviewed by Erin McKibbin

In the “Century of Giants,” Henry VIII of England, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain, and King Francois of France engaged in a game of treachery, using all who stood to serve them in their “struggle for power and glory at all levels.” The least of their pawns was little Genevieve de Hainaut Gravois, an infant orphaned by an act perfidious politics. Sent to the care of her French aunt, Madame de Montlhery by King Henry VIII, she was taught the arts of espionage and warfare for the purpose of bringing down the house of d’Orleans and ensuring a permanent division between France and Spain.

From a young age, Genevieve had a deep seated hatred for King François planted and nurtured. Told that Francois was the cause of her parents’ deaths, she never questioned her allegiance to Henry of England nor the long paternal letters of support and love she received from her Sire. With a life’s mission in her mind and the love of a benevolent king in her heart, she learned to shoot arrows with accuracy, to bring down the largest of animals in a hunt, and learned how to be a courtier in order to be placed right in the heart of her enemy’s court. Coming of age, Genevieve’s efforts come to fruition as she is taken into the service of Anne de Pisseleu d’Heilly, Duchess d’Etampes, King Francois’ mistress and advisor.

But, much to Genevieve’s dismay, King Francois’ court and the king himself do not match the stories she had been told all her life. Unsure which is reality, Genevieve must make a choice that has the potential of changing the European political landscape for generations to come.

In To Serve a King, Donna Russo Morin paints a very vivid portrait of the royal struggles that plagued Europe during the times of Henry VIII and Francois I. While Genevieve is a fictional character, she fits right in with the historical players in this saga and depicts clearly how the giants of Europe fought their game of crowns, enveloping even the least of their subjects into the struggle. Well written and intriguing, Morin proves that she is a contender in the wildly popular historical fiction genre.

Rating: 4/5

Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer as well as a full-time researcher/investigator in the sign industry. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio enjoying the beauty of life with her children and grandchildren.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Donna Russo Morin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.