THE SPYMASTER'S DAUGHTER
Westin delves into the Tudor/ Elizabethan era with not only depth of historical detail, but also with a compassionate understanding of the dangers, passions and triumphs of the era. She paints a glorious portrait of two queens and of all the political intricacies and tangled lives at court. The wondrous detailing and re-imagined historical personages are bright and fascinating additions to a complex exciting novel.
Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham tries to keep his daughter, Lady Frances, out of intelligence work, but the brilliant young woman is not to be left behind. Secretly studying ciphering, Frances decodes several important messages that point to Mary Queen of Scots’ plot to seize the throne. With her husband fighting in Holland, Frances uses her time at court to aid the queen, who sends her right into Mary’s lair. There is grave danger in spying against a queen, but there is more danger in the fact that Frances attracts two men’s interests: the Earl of Essex and her servant and friend Robert Pauley. With love vying with loyalty, Frances places herself in peril to do anything for her queen. (NAL, Aug., 384 pp., $16.00)