After years of plotting and planning, Elizabeth has finally ascended to the throne. Surrounded by men who believe a young woman cannot make the political decisions necessary to rule a country, she is pressed to marry.

Only one man, her dearest friend, Robert Dudley, holds her attention. But Robert is married to sweet, quiet Amy, who has no interest in court life. Amy enjoys her life in the country, though Robert, a courtier, is rarely at home. Pressure mounts for Elizabeth to wed and when a pregnant Amy dies from a mysterious fall down a flight of stairs, Dudley is suddenly free. Many wonder, however, at the circumstances.

Those who know the history surrounding Elizabeth's early days as queen will find no real surprises or ingenious plot twists—as there were in The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool—in this latest in Gregory's series.

Gregory does create a masterful historical biography with just the right touches of suspense and romance. No lover of Elizabethan history should be without this novel, nor will any fan be disappointed with the meticulous research and marvelous portraits of Elizabeth, Dudley and the court. (Nov., 440 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin