A freezing February in 1574 sees London brewing with paranoia, superstition and violence. Trouble is brewing and it feels like a keg of powder waiting for a spark… As chief intelligencer to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Doctor Christopher Radcliff has a web of informants and ‘amateur spies’ who feed back information which can be assessed and used to the advantage of Dudley and the Queen. However, this web of spies becomes vital as coins bearing the Dudley emblem start circulating. Not only these treasonous counterfeits, harking back to the Dudley family’s past troubles, must be stopped but also graffiti hinting at treachery from advisors to the Queen. Both endanger the relationship between the Dudley family and the crown. Both may cause uprising and mayhem – chaos!
Swanston balances historical detail with an entertaining story. His imagery is excellent and manages to make even the most minor character a three-dimensional personality. While getting caught up in the plot – fast paced and involving – we grow to like the people involved. An excellent second outing for Doctor Christopher Radcliff.