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Royal Murder

The Deadly Intrigue of Ten Sovereigns

Interest Age: 10–12
Grade: 5–7
Reading Level: Lexile 1030L
Paperback : 9781554511273, 128 pages, September 2008 , 9.5" x 7.5"


What would you do for absolute power?

For many monarchs throughout history, it was a question that ruled their lives. Step into the world of palatial intrigue, where holding the throne means evading death . . . or causing it.

Some sovereigns were cunning at avoiding their killers. Cleopatra of Egypt once rolled herself into a rug and was carried out past her enemies’ noses. Other royals were brutal when dealing with foes. Vlad the Impaler’s monstrous methods inspired the legend of Dracula the vampire.

From monarchs murdered at the hands of their subjects to kings killed on the battle field, the stories of ten royals are told:
• Cleopatra of Egypt (69 BCE – 30 BCE)
• Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia (1431 – 1476)
• Richard III of England (1452 – 1485)
• “Bloody Mary” I (1516 – 1558)
• Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587)
• Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603)
• Louis XVI (1754 – 1793)
• Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793)
• Elisabeth of Austria (1837 – 1898)
• The Romanovs of Russia (1872 – 1918)

A final section offers examples from the 20th century, from assassination attempts in England to a royal massacre in Nepal.

Blending dramatic storytelling and historical fact, and complete with fascinating photographs and artwork, Royal Murder is a compelling account of scheming sovereigns.


  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2009
  • Joint winner, VOYA’s Nonfiction Honor List 2009
  • Joint winner, Best Bets List, Ontario Library Association 2009
  • Winner, Red Maple Award, Ontario Library Association 2009


“A stunning blend of historical fact and storytelling . . . will leave readers thirsting for more.”

- Professionally Speaking, 06/09

“Elizabeth MacLeod . . . knows how to make history exciting for young readers."

- Quill & Quire, 05/08

“Thrills and chills galore . . . will give readers lots of history along with a good, gory read.”

- Canadian Children's Book News, 09/08

“Students fascinated by tales of kings and queens and all things royal will thoroughly enjoy this book.”

- Resource Links, 11/08

“Audiences in grades five and up will love hearing these gory, intriguing tales.”

- School Library Journal, 02/09

“Without question, you learn a lot about history, and it’s the sort of book that young boys and girls as well are going to find fascinating.”

- Ken Setterington, Children & Youth Advocate for Library Services, Toronto Public Library