When ruthless men are locked in an unremitting struggle for supremacy, even the innocent may become victims. The Earl of Essex, Elizabeth I’s arrogant favourite, will stop at nothing in his greedy pursuit of power, at times heedlessly trying her patience too far. His great rival, Lord Burghley’s son Sir Robert Cecil, is a frail, crippled man, a man Essex believes can be swept aside. But Cecil possesses a brilliant mind and an understanding of statecraft that Essex will never match. Before long Christoval Alvarez is caught up in the complex maze of their intrigues, which lead to violence, injustice, and ultimately a rigged trial and execution.