1592. England and Spain are at war and Queen Elizabeth sits on the throne. John Shakespeare discovers not only that the Queen herself is in danger - but that he and his family are also a target. With only his loyal footsoldier Boltfoot Cooper at his side, Shakespeare must face implacable forces who believe themselves above the law: men and women who kill without compunction. And in a world of shifting allegiances, just how far he can trust Robert Cecil, his devious new master?