"Spring, 1603: Queen Elizabeth is dying, and England waits anxiously. The Virgin Queen hasn't named an heir, refusing even to speak. Her cousin James, King of Scotland, is assumed to be her successor, but will the transition be peaceful? Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of State, fears insurrection and has brought troops to the capital. But from where might the danger come - overseas, or from malcontents closer to home? Meanwhile Marbeck, Cecil's best intelligencer, is under a cloud, wrongly suspected of shady dealings with the Spanish. So when the son of his friend Lady Celia Scroop joins a fanatical Puritan sect, he's glad to leave London to try and find the wayward youth. But events move fast and Marbeck finds himself in a maelstrom: forced to confront plots from two directions, that threaten not only the peace of the nation but the very fabric of England itself..."--Provided by the publisher.