Historian Tracy Borman returns to Lincolnshire for much anticipated debut novel talk

The King's Witch book cover

Celebrated historian Tracy Borman will give her first talk about her debut novel in her home county of Lincolnshire as the spectacular finale to Lincoln Book Festival 2018.

This year’s week-long literary festival, which runs 22nd-29th September, promises revolutionary thinking from some of Britain’s best-known historians and historical fiction writers and Lincolnshire-born author Tracy was the first headline guest speaker confirmed in this year’s programme.

She will make a much-anticipated appearance on Saturday 29th September at Lincoln Drill Hall when she will be discussing her debut novel, The King’s Witch (published in June 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton).


The first in a trilogy of historical novels set at the dramatic endpoint of the Tudor reign and the dangerous start of the Stuart era, the novel introduces heroine Frances Gorges, who becomes endangered by the scheming figures behind the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Set in the turbulent time between the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I, The King’s Witch tells the story of the court in the unrest of new rule, and follows Frances, daughter of eminent courtiers, who finds talent and comfort in herbs, flowers and healing.

Having made herself indispensable to the Queen in her illnesses, Frances becomes a favoured member of court. But when the new King arrives from Scotland, bringing change, fear and suspicion and puritanical views, he brings with him a fixation with witchcraft.

When her ambitious uncle forcibly brings Frances to court, she is trapped in a claustrophobic world – and becomes a ready target for the twisted scheming of Lord Cecil, the King’s first minister. Frances finds happiness only with the precocious young Princess Elizabeth, and Tom Wintour, the one courtier she thinks she can trust.

Acclaimed history books

Tracy, who was born and raised in Lincolnshire, is Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust, and joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, the Banqueting House, Whitehall and Hillsborough Castle. She often appears on television and radio to discuss history and heritage, and is a regular contributor to history magazines including BBC History.

Her acclaimed history books include Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen and The Private Lives of the Tudors. The King’s Witch is her first novel.

Tickets for ‘Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’ with Tracy Borman at Lincoln Book Festival 2018 are priced £10 and available from Lincoln Drill Hall Box Office. The event starts at 6.15pm and there will be opportunities to meet the author at a book signing.

Praise for The King’s Witch

‘Exquisitely written, sumptuous in detail and thrillingly plotted, The Kings Witch takes you deep into the darkness of the early Jacobean Court and into the heart of the wonderful, unforgettable Lady Frances. The first of what promises to be a magnificent trilogy.’
Kate Williams


‘Tracy Borman’s debut historical novel has it all: conspiracy, betrayal, dark intrigues, bloody deeds, a poignant love story – and the most famous plot in English history. In the debauched court of James I, nothing is as it seems, loyalties are torn, and danger is all around. At the centre of it all, Borman has created an engaging and courageous heroine, and her highly accomplished writing ensures that the reader is swept along to a shattering and shocking climax.’
Alison Weir


‘A compelling tale of corruption, danger and coruscating suspicion, The King’s Witch carries the reader right to the heart of James I’s court – and casts a dazzling new light onto one of the most dramatic moments in British history.’
Sarah Gristwood