Drake: Shakespeare is ordered to protect him. With Drake on land fitting out his ships, he is frighteningly vulnerable. If he dies, England will be open to invasion. In a London rife with rumour, Shakespeare must decide which leads to follow, which to ignore. When a high-born young woman is found mutilated and murdered at an illicit printing house, it is political gunpowder - and he has no option but to investigate. But why is Shakespeare shadowed at every turn by the brutal Richard Topcliffe, the blood-drenched priest-hunter who claims intimacy with Queen Elizabeth herself? What is Topcliffe`s interest in a housemaid, whose baby has been stolen? And where do two fugitive Jesuit priests - one happy to die for God, the other to kill for Him - fit into the puzzle? From the splendour and intrigue of the royal court, to the sleek warships of Her Majesty`s Navy and the teeming brothels of Southwark, Shakespeare soon learns that nothing is as it seems.
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