Bloody Tower: The Diary of Tilly Middleton is the seventeenth book in the My Story series. It was written by Valerie Wilding, her first in the series. The book was first published in October 2002 by Scholastic UK. It was republished in September 2009 as a part of the My Royal Story line.
- "For my mother–always a tower of strength"
- "12th February, 1554
Through my roof hole I am watching the final touches being put to the scaffold on Tower Green. It is draped in black, and straw has already been strewn around the block to catch the blood. There is no axe yet. The executioner will bring that. I wonder if mother will let us watch? We usually do, on Tower Hill, but this is the first execution within the Tower walls since I was about one and a half years old. Mother says that was a double execution—a queen and her lady—and tomorrow is the twelfth anniversary of those deaths. I do not remember them, of course, but I will certainly remember this... there have been many, many deaths in other parts of the Tower—some we never hear about. This bloody Tower."
- "Tilly lives in turbulent times. It's the 1550s; when Queen Mary ousts Lady Jane Grey to win the throne, her executioners are kept busy. Even Princess Elizabeth is imprisoned in the Tower. As Tilly watches the plots and politics of the Tudor court unfolding, she waits for her chance to deliver a very important letter..."
Tilly Middleton lives in Tower of London, where her father works as a physician. He gives Tilly a diary that one of the Tower's prisoners had given him. One day, Tilly finds a letter wedged between the pages, labeled "EL" with the rest being smudged. In July 1553, the current King of England, Edward VI dies and leaves the throne to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey. She reigns for nine short days, before Edward's sister, Mary deposes her.
Jane and her husband, Guilford Dudley are imprisoned, while Mary frees many Catholics. Meanwhile, Mary and her sister, Elizabeth stay at the Tower for Mary's upcoming coronation. Now under Mary's control, England soon turns into Catholic country once again, but the new Latin services "impossible to follow" according to Tilly. Lady Jane and Guilford are eventually found guilty of treason and sentenced to death, though many think they will receive a pardon.
Mary's plans to marry a Catholic prince, Philip of Spain anger many of her subjects, including Thomas Wyatt, who starts a rebellion. Within less than a month, the uprising loses steam and Wyatts surrenders, after losing many of his supporters. No pardon arrives for Jane and they carry out the execution in February. Mary begins to suspect Elizabeth may be involved in rebellion and imprisons her at the Tower. In the meantime, Tilly makes a new friend, Frances Lea, who often causes trouble.
Celebrations are held for Mary's marriage to Philip, before Tilly's mother gives birth to twins. Tilly, busy taking care of siblings, rarely has time to write. Mary is expecting a baby, when she begins burning Protestants at the stake. However, Mary never produces an heir, after two false alarms. On November 18, 1558, Mary dies and leaves the throne to Elizabeth. She is staying at the Tower, when a page asks Tilly for her father's apprentice. Tilly instead seizes the moment to deliver the letter to Elizabeth, who declares Tilly a "faithful subject."
- Main article: List of Bloody Tower characters
- Matilda "Tilly" Middleton is the daughter of Master Middleton, a Tower physician. She discovers a letter for Elizabeth and waits patiently for a moment to give it to her.
- Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and a Princess of England. Her sister, Mary fears that Elizabeth may be trying to overthrow her and imprisons Elizabeth at the Tower.
- Main article: Valerie Wilding
Valerie Wilding is a children's author. She is the author of six books for the My Story series, including The Queen's Spies, Road to War, Highway Girl, No Way Back, and Wartime Princess. The Queen's Spies is a sequel to Bloody Tower.
- Main article: The Queen's Spies
The Queen's Spies, later republished as To Kill a Queen, is the sequel to Bloody Tower. The book was published December 2005, and was also written by Valerie Wilding. It follows Tilly's daughter, Kitty Lumsden, who watches the Babington Plot unfold.
|Tudor related books and characters|