Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton

The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton

Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Ellys-Daughtrey Books
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction

Ireland, 1635.

When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.

While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

"If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance... Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down." -- Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer



It was another late night for me last night to stay up and finish this excellent historical. I sure love my sleep but nothing beats a good book!

The Earl in Black Armor is set in Ireland in the 1630s and tells the story of Faolán Burk, who is newly widowed and father to a young daughter. He is sent on a mission to infiltrate the court of Lord Deputy Wentworth, find out his plans and to bring back information that will help his people. Faolán is torn between his duty and need for money, and his love for his daughter. Faolán is soon teamed up with Denisa, an assistant to Wentworth who may not be who she at first seems to be. What a great pair they were!

Rich in history with two main characters that you will love and root for, The Earl in Black Armor is an exceptional look at the politics of the time. I was captivated by Faolán and Denisa's story and highly recommend The Earl in Black Armor! If you're looking for a unique read about a dark time in Ireland's history, look no further!

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Excerpt from
The Earl in Black Armor
by Nancy Blanton

In this novel, the story is woven around the life of Thomas Wentworth, the first Earl of Strafford,
in the 1630s. Here, he arrives at a hunting lodge in Ireland’s County Wicklow, just granted to him by King Charles I of England. The viewpoint is from Irishman Faolán Burke, Wentworth’s porter.


The daintiliest and plentifullyest watered country I ever saw.”
~ Thomas Wentworth about Wicklow

The O’Byrnes had called it Cosha—a word to sound like a heart’s whisper, softly spoken on exhale. The very name conjured the vision of a beautiful woman, an adventuress with long, flowing hair and curving hips; a temptress with magical powers leading you to secret valleys of splendor. The vista opened to a great expanse without obstruction, the clouds falling behind them and the sky intensifying to brilliant sapphire, the hills becoming low and verdant, the valley beyond them bristling with purple winter heather and evergreen. That it was also called Byrne’s Country meant it had long been owned by the O’Byrne clan, a family descended from a king of Leinster and remembered for its legendary leader Feagh MacHugh, the chief rebel of Leinster during Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
The hunting lodge was visible in the distance and yet indistinct, as if it were captured by an artist’s paintbrush rather than solidly formed of wood and brick. Wentworth had changed the place name to Fairwood. Fairwood. Leave it to the English to take something lyrically Irish, and change it to something so stately and dull. Behind the lodge, a garden could be seen even from afar, as wide as the house with a walking lane projecting outward from the center, and at the end of it, the land sloping down to a silver stream, the River Derry, spotted through dense copses where the hunting game would abound.
Why Wentworth had lusted for such a place was never in question. What man in his position might not have moved mountains in order to own it? If you could present the king with a huge tract of land that produced income and wood for his ships and promised him a well-stocked and maintained hunting ground should he choose to visit, what little to ask of him for the gift of the small estates on the periphery that were of no use or value to him? Knowing in all likelihood the king never would visit, never would see the property, and never would want it the way Wentworth did.
What stirred within Faolán’s breast was not the lust for land or power as much as it was for all he had dreamt of and all he had lost at Skebreen. Here it was in shining glory before him: pacifying and yet exhilarating, challenging and yet sustaining. If only he could scrape it all up from the firmament of Wicklow and set it down where his own home lay untended and unloved back in County Cork.

About the Author

Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 1
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 5
Review at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, July 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 8
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, July 10
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, July 11
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 19
Interview at Jathan & Heather


During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Earl in Black Armor

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