Mary is Queen of Scotland but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin Elizabeth. But England, precarious in its Protestant state, set against the mighty powers of Spain, France and Rome, fears Mary’s power as a charismatic Catholic figurehead while she has her freedom. Mary is placed under house arrest with Bess of Hardwick.
Bess is a self-made woman, a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion that she always carries? Mary may be trapped in privileged imprisonment awaiting her return to Scotland and her infant son; but waiting is not the same as doing nothing…
With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background, Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change, in a riveting tale of betrayal, loyalty, politics and passion.
‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows.’ Peter Ackroyd, The Times
‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating.’ Sunday Times
‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent.’ DailyTelegraph
‘The contemporary mistress of historical crime fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands…Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.’ Kate Mosse, Financial Times