Wednesday 14 November 2018

Today Jacqueline Reiter reviews The Path to Somerset by Janet Wertman. The author has very kindly offered a giveaway - US residents may choose between a paperback or an ebook while an ebook will be sent to a winner from anywhere else in the world.  To be in with a chance of winning this wonderful prize, simply leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Good luck!

After the tragic romance of Jane the Quene, the second book in The Seymour Saga trilogy, The Path to Somerset, takes a dark turn through an era in which King Henry VIII descends into cynicism, suspicion and fits of madness – and in which mistakes mean death.

Edward Seymour’s future is uncertain. Although his sister Jane bore Henry the son he’d sought for twenty years, when she died in childbirth, Henry’s good nature died with her. Now the fiercely ambitious Edward must carve a difficult path through Henry’s shifting principles and wives. Challenged at every turn by his nemesis, Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Edward must embrace ruthlessness in order to safeguard not only his own future but England’s as well.

This is the account of Henry’s tumultuous reign, as seen through the eyes of two opponents whose fierce disagreements over religion and common decency fuel epic struggles for the soul of the nation. And for power.

Death, and the fear of death, runs through The Path to Somerset like a black vein. The main character Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, is painfully conscious that he owes his prominence at Henry VIII’s court to his sister, Jane, who died giving the King an heir. The novel opens with Edward attending an execution at the Tower of London; he reflects how easily he could be next, for all he is currently in favour: “Edward felt a shattering rush of life as the axe rose, glinting in the light, then a sudden void when the weapon struck with a dull thud. He hid his flinch by scratching at an itch in his beard, trimmed to match the King’s.” Right from the start, Edward’s desire to hold onto the King’s goodwill governs every moment of his existence.

Edward knows his life depends on keeping in the King’s good books – and the spate of executions that follows the opening scene only drives in the point. There are four high-profile deaths in the first half of the book alone. In one particularly grim scene, a victim lays their head on a block still dripping with blood from an execution that took place only moments previously. Edward’s ambition, therefore – which grows steadily as the book follows him on his “path” to becoming the Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector under Edward VI – is strongly conditioned by his desire to keep his head firmly on his shoulders. His enemies, particularly the Duke of Norfolk and Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, have the same aim. The novel depicts their deadly battle of wits to remain in favour, to gain power and (above all) to survive.

Every character is skilfully depicted, and a tremendous amount of research on the political and religious background of the last years of Henry VIII’s life must have gone into this book. Above it all stands the character of the King himself, the charm of his youth long gone and replaced by the terror and awe he inspires in all who surround him, which Henry seems to have grown to confuse with love and respect. Wertman ably depicts him as an aging tyrant who plays mind-games with his courtiers, and who is quite literally rotting on his throne (the stench from the ulcers on his leg is a running theme). In a more figurative sense, this rot has travelled to the core of Henry’s court, and qualities such as loyalty and trust are in very short supply: “It was an effective strategy at court, to place people in your debt. Proclaim your own friendship before asking for evidence of theirs.

What will happen when Henry dies, therefore, dominates the decisions Edward and his enemies make. Unsurprisingly, very few of the characters are in any way sympathetic, and Edward himself (particularly in his emotional reliance on his wife, Anne, who spurs him on in his ambition) reminded me a little bit of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. If you’re looking for an easy read with likeable characters and maybe even a love story, this is certainly not the book for you. But if you are after a tense, grisly and highly realistic depiction of the manoeuvrings heralding the power void after the death of Henry VIII, then this book is a must read. It certainly kept me turning the pages and I highly recommend it.

About the Author

By day, Janet Ambrosi Wertman is a freelance grantwriter for impactful nonprofits. By night she blogs and writes historical fiction, indulging a passion for the Tudor era she has harbored since she was eight years old and her parents let her stay up late to watch The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. Janet lives in Los Angeles with her husband and dog, and is happy to be within driving distance of her three grown children. Find out more about Janet – and the Tudors – at her website,
Social shares:

Twitter - @JaneTheQuene (that’s where all the Tudor stuff goes - she also tweets herself under @JanetWertman)

Buy links!!

About the reviewer

Jacqueline Reiter has a PhD in late 18th century history from the University of Cambridge. She is the author of The Late Lord: the life of John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham (Pen and Sword, 2017) and a novel, Earl of Shadows (Endeavour Press, 2017). She has written for History Today and the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, and is co-writing a chapter for the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Napoleonic Wars. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children. You can find out more about her research and writing through her blog, Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Difficult times to be living in ....sounds like a fascinating read

    1. BEST NATURAL TREATMENT FOR HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV) earning that you have HPV can be one of the most difficult experiences you go through in life. You may feel scared, sad or even angry – this is OK, and a completely natural part of coping with something that can be life changing.
      It will probably take a while for the news to sink in.

      My name is Johnny Mary and i am from the United States.

      I remember spending so much money buying drugs from hospitals hoping that i will be cured from HPV VIRUS, but all to no avail. I contacted so many  doctors and they prescribe medicine for me which they indeed tried their best but was unable to provide for me a possible cure, luckily i saw a comment about a herbal doctor, (Dr.Ogberaese) online.

      I then contacted him (Dr.Ogberaese) through his email, After much chat and enquiry with the doctor, i decide to take a leap of faith because i have nothing to loose.
      To my greatest surprise, Dr.Ogberaese prepare a medicine and  send me a Herbal Medicine through FEDEX courier Service, and he gave me guidelines on how am to take it. I followed all procedures as instructed, and after 2 weeks of taking it i was cure from HPV VIRUS  his medicine is legit and it is real. I just want to encourage all individuals out there living with HERPES ,  ITCHY SHINGLES , Genital Herpes, HSV1&2, HIV/AIDS/ HPV, COPD, CANCER, Hepatitis b, Lupus, PCOS, Kidney failure, Lung cancer and alot more. That there is still a huge chance that you can get cure only with the help of dr Ogberaese. kindly contact him via email: or whatsapp: +2348073818653

  2. Hi, I’ve been searching for help on how to get my ex lover back that broke up with me 2 years ago.. I was traumatised by the break up and nearly wanted to commit suicide but i thank God that i got the contact of dr oyimeanel the spiritual father that helped me to get back my ex lover after much searching of help from different places. When i got in touch with dr oyimeanel a, i explained everything to him to he gave me his words of encouragement and told me that he was going to prepare a spell for me that will help me get back my ex lover within 48 hours and i believed in his words for i was referred to him by a friend who he helped and right now, my ex lover is back and we are living happily together to get married next month. If you need any assistance whatsoever like getting cured from sickness, getting pregnant E.T.C. Then, I suggest that you get in touch with dr oyimeanel now through his Email ID: and WhatsApp him on+2348117963221 for more information. Thank you sir.

  3. Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!

    Hương Lâm chuyên cung cấp máy photocopy và dịch vụ cho thuê máy photocopy giá rẻ, uy tín TP.HCM với dòng máy photocopy toshiba và dòng máy photocopy ricoh uy tín, giá rẻ.

  4. I’m very excited to inform everyone that I’m completely cured from HSV1&2 recently. I have used Oregano oil, Coconut oil, Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, and some other products and it’s really help during my outbreaks but I totally got cured from HSV1&2 with a strong and active herbal medicine ordered from a powerful. herbalist called Dr. Onokun and it completely fought the virus away my nervous system and I tested negative after 14 days of using the herbal medicine. I’m here to let everyone know that herpes virus has a complete cure, I got rid of mine with the help of Dr. Onokun and his herbal exploit. Contact him via email:

  5. Timed, recurring international courier: punctual delivery gui hang di My

  6. First Time I understand very well about these facts from your post I hope I will soon greater replace thoroughly in future
    Such an informative and splendid blog I've ever read please keep sharing your mind. thanks for sharing this informative blog.
    ScratchUndo Pro
    SaniBand Review

  7. Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us. Find out the best Industrial Flooring Contractors in UAE on Etisalat yellowpages.

  8. Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!

    Okinawa Flat Belly Tonic

    BioFit Probiotic

  9. I don't have time beating around the bush, instead I go straight to the point.... So to you doubters I ain't expecting you all to believe my testimony but only the few chosen ones by God. In a short summary, I'm here to tell the whole world that I recently got cured from my long term herpes disease, both the HSV1 and HSV2 through the assistance of Herbalist doctor Oyagu I pray God continually blesses Dr Oyagu in all he does, because he is indeed a very good, nice and powerful doctor. I’m cured of herpes disease at last! Wow I'm so much in great joy because I've never in my life believed herbs works, but meeting doctor Oyagu was an eye opener and he made me believe that herpes truly got a complete cure. I used the doctor's herbal medicine for just two weeks and I was totally cured from both my HSV1 and HSV2. I'm so excited. For help and assistance in getting rid of your herpes virus you can Call/WhatsApp doctor Oyagu on his telephone number: +2348101755322 or for more inquiries you can as well contact the doctor on EMAIL:

  10. Wow yar this is litrally a super amazing post. You have worked hard to share this info. I am very glad to read this. Thanks for sharing.
    best microwave oven


  11. I was browsing the Internet searching for help when I came across a testimony shared by someone on how she was cured from Herpes Disease. I quickly contacted him to get the cure. I bought the herbal medicine from the herbal doctor [Robinson Buckler]. I took the herbal medicine for 2 weeks as instructed and i went for a medical checkup and to my greatest surprise i was cured from Herpes virus. My heart is so filled with joy. If you are suffering from Herpes or any other disease you can contact this herbal doctor today on this Email address_________________robinsonbuckler @[[yahoo .com]].....Thank you Doctor

    Denton Avenue
    Cookeville, TN 38501

  12. I want to use this means to let the world know that all hope is not lost Getting pregnant after having tubes clamped and burned, I know IVF and Reversal could help but the cost is way too high, i couldn't afford it either and i so desire to add another baby to my family been trying for 5 years, not until i came across Dr Zico, who cast a pregnancy/Fertility spell for me and i use his herbal remedy/medication and i got pregnant. l hope that women out there who are going through the same fears and worries l went through in GETTING PREGNANT , will find your contact as i drop it here on this site, and solution will come to them as they contact you. Thank you and God bless you to reach him email via:

  13. Her insights delve into its depth, resonating with those curious about the journey this novel takes. Minimum Spaces Needed Reiter's review provides a valuable perspective on the book's merits and storytelling prowess.

  14. I'm EMAN, It's been a while since I've
    written to thank Dr oduwa who helped me in my
    life. I was infected with HPV SIMPLEX VIRUS in 2020, I went to many
    hospitals for a cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking how I can
    get a solution so that my body can be okay. One day my Aunt Rosa
    introduces me to Doctor oduwa having seen so many testimony online
    about his herbal medication to cure HERPES and gave me his
    email, so I emailed him. He told me all the
    things I needed to do and also gave me instructions to follow, which I
    followed properly. Before I knew what was happening after one weeks the
    HERPES that was in my body vanished. so if you are you are having
    herpes or any kind of disease listed below.
    And you also want cure, you can also email him at: or through his WhatsApp +2349169329172