My review of  Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler

 My rating 5 out of 5 stars 

My mother used to have the habit, when she finished a book of closing it up and saying, ‘By heck, I enjoyed that’. When I finished Terry Tyler’s Kings and Queens I had a ‘by heck’ moment.

I only discovered Terry Tyler’s novels last year, they are true page-turners and I’ve enjoyed each one. This book, Kings and Queens, is both a family saga and a clever contemporary take on history; Harry Lanchester lives a hedonistic life that, in many ways, parallels that of Henry VIII. He might not order the death of his wives and lovers but they are just as easily discarded, he is portrayed as a patriarch and is at the centre of his world. And that world is filled with everything that makes up ‘real life’ today; stable families, dysfunctional families, erratic individuals, stable characters, revenge and bitterness, love and caring, sex, lust, romance, death and grief, even murder – the list is endless and multi layered.

Normally I say I don’t include spoilers in my reviews but the background, the general plot in Kings and Queens is obviously a given. Yet the narrative is so original and innovative, it is easy for the reader to sit back and enjoy the modern-day twists and turns that the author conjures up as though the story is completely unknown.

As usual, Terry Tyler presents characters that are rounded, well drawn and given so many different facets to their personalities that it is easy to cheer with them, be irritated by them and to suffer with them. Through the various individualistic voices of the characters (and the dialogue is brilliantly written) the author takes us, chapter by chapter through the story. This is a particularly favourite writing style for me as a reader. Told in the first person point of view, there is always the slight suspicion (or knowledge?) that the narrator is sometimes unreliable; this certainly made me slow down and think about some passages, even though I so much wanted to know what happened next.

Kings and Queens covers the decades of the nineteen-seventies to the present time. The author’s research on each era is impeccable; every setting is drawn with subtle touches through the business economy,  the fashions, the communities, the music, the social scene.

This is a stand-alone novel but I knew there was a sequel, Last Child, so I read both in quick succession.  The review for , Last Child will follow soon. As for Kings and Queens, all I can say is that I was hooked from the first page and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Can’t say it too often -by heck I enjoyed it!


  1. Judith, what a lovely thing to wake up to! Thank you so, so much, I’m delighted with this and so pleased you liked it so much. I know you love a family saga, like me! I love how you ‘got’ what I was doing with this, ie, writing it so that you see that one person’s view of circumstances/other characters is only their point of view, and might be biased/ill informed…!

    I don’t know if you have read Susan Howatch, but I think you would love her books Cashelmara, Penmarric, The Rich are Different, Sons of the Father and The Wheel of Fortune; it was she who gave me the idea for this structure, which I love, too. You’d need to be on holiday, though, they’re big books!

    I must just add that I did no research whatsoever for the 70s and 80s, except from my memory!!!! Let’s hear it for having lived through an era, eh!

    Many, many thanks x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved it! And the next, Last Child, for which I’ll post a review later. You have a brilliant style – and you’re right, I do love a ‘good’ saga. So thank you for reminding me of Susan Howatch. I read one of hers years ago and had forgotten. When I’ve finished this editing for the last book, I’m going to have a week off writing – and read. As for the research, I have to agree – there is nothing like remembering living through the times. Hah! Although they do say, if you remember the sixties you weren’t really there – so not sure what that means for me. I can still hear my father saying ‘That’s not a skirt, it’s a bloody belt’ – as I swanned through the door. (I’m allowed to swear her as it’s a quote) Cheers! And power to your pen, Terry.


      • Ha ha! I only remember the 60s as a child; I was born in the latter half of 1959 which is handy, because all my teens were in the 70s, all my 20s in the 80s, etc. Oh, and enjoy, enjoy your reading week – so lovely when you decide to do that! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • My little sister’s books are great, aren’t they! I forget that I know her, when I read her books. I love her modern take on the Tudors. Last Child is terrific. And Judith, Susan Howatch was wonderful before she became compulsively religious – not that there’s anything wrong with religion, it’s just her writing got a touch of tunnel vision.


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