Traitor’s Storm is the fifth installment of a historical mystery series featuring none other than Kit Marlowe as the heroic inspector. Marlowe is sent by Sir Francis Walsingham to look into the whereabouts of Harry Hasler, another of Walsingham’s agents, who had been sent to Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, currently under the governorship of Sir George Carey. Marlowe is also taxed with making sure the Isle is prepared for imminent attack from Spain. Marlowe, posing as a playwright seeking inspiration, is immediately put on edge upon his arrival on the Isle of Wight and senses that things are not as they appear. His anxiety increases when he finds that the Isle is not prepared for any attack, much less from a mighty Spanish Armada. Trow skillfully weaves a suspenseful narrative, with tension coming on several fronts combined with a heightened sense of danger from those on the island and those outside.
Unfortunately for Marlowe, many of the islanders are suspicious. Sir George is more concerned with his smuggling than defense. Lady Carey is suspiciously unfaithful to both her queen and her husbands. The local population is discontent with the governorship of the Isle, and then murdered bodies began to appear with slit throats; of even more concern, they are found with Spanish doubloons scattered around them just as the Armada looms on the horizon. In the end, Trow gives readers a clever detective story set amidst a turbulent historical backdrop and skillfully combines the two into a perfect dramatic storm that a tempest itself could not have torn me from.