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Unicorn's Blood

About the Book

Unicorn's Blood

“So where shall we begin, in this tale of unicorns and virgins? In the head of my usurper, the earthly Queen Elizabeth, I think. She lies peacefully in darkness on a clean linen pillow, the rose-water that took the red cinnabar and white-lead paint from her skin leaving ghosts of gardens about her cheeks. Her hair is cut short and no longer the fair burnished copper that men praised in her youth, but an ugly shade between grey and red, now hidden by an embroidered cap. Her alabaster skin is furrowed and freckled with the footprints of Time. But when she sleeps, the folds relax and the guile and statecraft melt away until it is as if a child peeks from behind a crumpled mask.” (p. 2)

In her first novel since the critically acclaimed Firedrake’s Eye, Patricia Finney has written a masterpiece of voice, of historical detail and of psychological insight that rivals the best of Umberto Eco and Rose Tremain.

England, mid-1580s. Facing an array of international foes and torn internally by religious strife, England finds that its safety depends more than ever on a slight woman of exceptional intellectual brilliance, a master of realpolitik--Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, Gloriana. Elizabeth is revered like a goddess, her stature a shrewd political tool designed to hold her people together. And it’s about to be destroyed by a dark revelation from a hidden part of her past.

Unicorn’s Blood is about a dangerous secret, the existence of a private diary kept by the Queen as a young princess. Should this stolen journal, embroidered with a unicorn that has a ruby for an eye, fall into the wrong hands, its intimate revelations would destroy the entire edifice of Tudor government. This guide is designed to help you navigate the twists and turns of Patricia Finney’s intricately wrought work.

Unicorn's Blood
by Patricia Finney

  • Publication Date: December 15, 1998
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Picador
  • ISBN-10: 0312200390
  • ISBN-13: 9780312200398