England, September 1592.
Elizabeth Tudor, the Virgin Queen, is approaching her 60th birthday. Her grip on her realm is as tight and as paranoid as ever it has been, but she is growing old and there are rumours of plots to replace her. Some of these plots are proving viable, so perhaps she is not so paranoid, after all.
Her secret service, formerly controlled by Sir Francis Walsingham and now by Lord Burghley, is fighting a shadowy and increasingly dirty war to keep her and the throne of England safe.
Being an intelligence agent for Elizabeth means a dangerous life and more kicks than halfpence and many have paid the ultimate price for their loyalty.
So, there is always a shortage of suitable young men and the universities provide fertile ground for recruitment. Some are driven by the promise of material wealth, which usually fails to come up to expectations, and others by a love of adventure and the spice of danger
Yet others wander into this twilight world without a clue as to what they are getting themselves into.
Meet Nicholas Farthing, Cambridge undergraduate and party animal. He should never have accepted that last brandy from Kit Marlowe..........
Published: 10 March 2014