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REVIEW: The Tyrant by Patricia Veryan

Dear Mrs Veryan,

tyrant_thumb.jpgAlas, you’ve finally retired from writing your fabulous stories which have kept me enthralled ever since I was introduced to them. I can well understand why you chose to do this. As a friend of mine often says, “old age ain’t for sissies.” It is with delight that I find that rereading these favorite books is just as much fun the second (and third) time(s) around.

In this the third book of the Golden Chronicles you tell of how usually taciturn Meredith Carruthers finds, is forced to offer for, then slowly falls in love with his lady faire, the delightful and down to earth Phoebe Ramsey. As the story begins, we find that Phoebe is being slightly naughty in entertaining the wooing of one Captain Brooks Lambert. Her parents are aware of their mutual regard but feel that the penniless Lambert is a poor catch for their lovely eldest daughter. Add to that the fact that the Ramsey family, while not exactly paupers, don’t have much of the ready and are hoping for a wealthier suitor for Phoebe. At the family’s annual summer ball, they unexpectedly get just that and a slight scandal to boot when Phoebe and Mr. Carruthers are found in a compromising situation. What neither of them dares let on is the fact that they were attempting to help Phoebe’s younger brother Sinclair aid a hunted man.

The Jacobite Rebellion is over but the treasure gathered to help the cause, but not in time to do it much good, is hidden in a safe location. The whereabouts are a closely guarded secret and the men who carry the four stanzas of a riddle designed to reveal the site are hunted with ruthless efficiency by the army and anyone who fancies a fortune. When Merry discovers that an old childhood friend is one of these men, he immediately aids the poor fellow even though he personally loathes the Stuart cause. Now that he’s become involved, Merry is just as at risk of charges of high treason (remember what happened to Mel Gibson in Braveheart?) as is Phoebe’s brother and the hunted men. In order to make their sham betrothal seem real, Phoebe, Sin, and their mother travel back to Merry’s ancestral manse (which almost becomes a character in the plot) while also smuggling the injured fugitive. What follows is pulse pounding excitement as the trio dodge close calls, fortune hunters, irate neighbors, fight a duel, escape a kidnapping, smuggle out to France not only the close friend but also his lady and work out their own courtship.

What we, the readers, discover over the course of the book is the fact that Merry desperately loves Phoebe, more he declares in a matter of fact way that defies disbelief, than his own life. Merry is the type to whom all turn when in trouble and who holds himself to almost inhumanly high standards of conduct. His feeling of responsibility for anyone under his care is absolute and his word, once given, is carved in stone. As Sinclair says, “Yes. He is a man who acts rather than one who is all talk.” He is also forced to make some ghastly choices while trying to bring everything off, choices that could end all hope he has of winning Phoebe’s true regard and love.

And Phoebe, as we will see, is a woman worthy of this honorable man’s unswerving devotion. She is troubled by the false betrothal not only because of the way it was entered but also for the toll it she finds it will take on Merry’s family, which has some past scandals to live down, and her own. As she comes to know Merry and see what kind of person he is, she begins to realize that he, and not Brooks who was more than willing to go behind her family’s back to win her hand, is the man she loves. She is also the one whose quick wits and steady resolve bring them out of danger more than once as events unfold and who must also face a moment of crisis before being rewarded with the love she so unexpectedly finds.

A vivid cast of characters round out the story and we begin to see the redemption of a man who up til now has been a minor villain but who is destined for different things before series end. The danger is real, the action is nonstop and the romance is delightful in “The Tyrant.” Readers who are new to the series can feel confident in starting out with this usually lesser priced book and still get a full taste of your writing style. A-


Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Estelle
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 09:51:11

    Ah, my favorite Veryan book and one of my favorite romance books plain and simple. It sits on my keeper’s shelf and never has the time to collect any dust because I take it down for a re-read very often.

    Thanks for writing this review, Jayne. This book is unfortunately not very well-known and it deserves to be in the spotlight IMO.

  2. Lynne
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 11:46:32

    I need to reread this book! Your review reminded me once again how much I’ve always enjoyed Veryan. Is a review of The Dedicated Villain in the queue somewhere? :-)

  3. Jennie
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 12:08:15

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Veryan, but this sounds right up my alley. I’ll have to see if I can locate a copy.

    And the hero’s nicknamed Merry? Adorable. Though it sounds like he’s not very merry, personality-wise. :)

  4. Kristie(J)
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 17:55:06

    Did I tell you after the last review of a Veryan book how delighted I am that these are being reviewed? ‘Cause if I didn’t – I am – delighted that is.To be honest I don’t remember this one as well as some of the other Golden Chronicle books. I think I’ve only read it twice and the last time was some time ago. And while it wasn’t my favourite of the series – it is a wonderful story!
    (OK – I just checked. I did tell you how delighted I was *g* It still holds.)
    I hope you’re going to review the next couple in the series as the next one is my personal favourite of all her books. And the last ones – well, I think all who’ve read that one will be waiting anxiously for a review!
    She wrote the kind of book you just don’t see anymore *sad sigh*.

  5. Jayne
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 18:14:18

    She wrote the kind of book you just don't see anymore *sad sigh*.

    I agree with you 100% there. I’m drawing a mental blank at who might even come close to her style. The mix of romance (sans sex) and adventure just isn’t done anymore. I love the “duel” scene in this one and cracked up at the Squire’s two seconds – have to have everything just so, don’tcha know. All the niceties adhered to before two men attempt to shoot each other.

  6. Jayne
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 18:28:19

    Jennie, part of why I love this book is slowly getting to see behind the facade that Merry shows to most of the world. “Tyrant” is the nickname Phoebe initially gives him (his for her is “Shrew”) and it takes her quite a while to change her mind about him but once she does…she’s totally committed to him.

    “Phoebe’s heart turned over. She heard a maid sob, the sound abruptly muffled. She saw im then, his dark head wildly untidy and uncharacteristically bowed, one arm across Jeffrey’s shoulder, the other in a neat sling, and his shirt and breeches a welter of scarlet splotches. She could not seem to breathe, and a lump rose in her throat, choking her. He looked up, and halted briefly, gazing at her. She managed, somehow, to smile through a blur of tears, and she saw a faint shadow of his quirkish grin dawn.

    A strange heady joy swept over her, and at last, she knew.

    She thought, in a proud, exultant triumph, “So this is what it feels like. This is the pig’s trotter!”

    And no, I won’t explain what that means. You have to read the book. ;)

  7. Jayne
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 18:30:14

    As for other reviews from the GC series? Yes, I’d like to do the whole series but it’s going to have to be fitted in between all the current books I’ve committed myself to read and the new (and new to me) ones I want to do so it might take a while.

  8. Kristie(J)
    Jul 04, 2007 @ 19:38:46

    but it's going to have to be fitted in between all the current books I've committed myself to read and the new (and new to me) ones I want to do so it might take a while

    There are so many books and so little time isn’t there. I think I’ve reached the point where if I never get another book – I just might be able to read them all in my lifetime – but of course I can’t stop buying them!

  9. Devon
    Jul 05, 2007 @ 07:00:58

    Jayne, I love these reviews of gems from the past. They stand out from the crowd! I really want this.

  10. charlotte
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 22:53:58

    Loved, loved this book. It’s a pity she doesn’t write any more. My best is ‘Love alters not’.

  11. Jayne
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 05:27:50

    From what I gather, each book seems to have its fan club members. I must, must make room in my reading schedule to do the rest of the series justice.

  12. umalily
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 09:54:01

    Yes, someone else is reading and talking about the books I love. I’ve read The Tyrant several times and love the series. I am currently reading the part where Ada, Phoebe’s maid tells her how she first knew she was in love with Henry. I’ve always liked the fact that Veryan wrote that tenderness looked out the eyes of the male lead to show they’d crossed to love from infatuation.
    I love how Merry’s eyes go from grey to blue.

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