Marbeck and the King in Waiting

Written by John Pilkington
Review by Viviane Crystal

As Queen Elizabeth lies dying in England in 1603, the plots for a favored successor begin. The Queen’s Master Secretary, Sir Robert Cecil, aka “The Toad,” the power behind the throne, views Marbeck the spy as a suspected traitor because of supposed dealings while serving in Spain and refuses to see him. Meanwhile, other intelligencers gradually learn of two plots to take over the throne of England upon Elizabeth’s death.

Before entering that wild fray of intrigue, Marbeck’s current lover, Lady Celia Scroop, begs Marbeck to find her son, Henry, who has left Exeter College and now follows the fanatic Puritan religious leader, Isaac Gow. Marbeck’s initial attempts to bring Henry back to Exeter fail, and Marbeck becomes distracted after hearing important news of an attempt to make a Spanish princess the new Queen of England. Marbeck is engaged to discover and report on the very rich, financial backer of this plot.

The carrying-out of his plan keeps will keep readers furiously reading, with pulse-throbbing tension exuding from every page. At the same time, Isaac Gow is arrested, and Marbeck realizes Gow has his own plans for King James of Scotland, who is progressing through England before his coronation. The traditional but startling scene in York where Gow and King James meet is explosive! Many are the traitors, fierce the battles, and exhausting the speedy trips back and forth as Marbeck and his assistants attempt to stay one step ahead of the plotters.

John Pilkington crafts this adventurous historical mystery with just enough careful description, insertion of clues, and clever analysis by Marbeck to totally engage readers’ nonstop interest. Once one reluctantly finishes this tale, one will definitely want to read more by this talented author!