From acclaimed author Karen Brooks comes this intriguing novel rich in historical detail and drama as it tells the unforgettable story of Queen Elizabeth's daring, ruthless spymaster and his female protégée.
In Queen Elizabeth's England, where no one can be trusted and secrets are currency, one woman stands without fear.
Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London's most ingenious locksmith. She has apprenticed with her father since childhood, and there is no lock too elaborate for her to crack. After scandal destroys her reputation, Mallory has returned to her father's home and lives almost as a recluse, ignoring the whispers and gossip of their neighbors. But Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and a frequent client of Mallory's father, draws her into his world of danger and deception. For the locksmith's daughter is not only good at cracking locks, she also has a talent for codes, spycraft, and intrigue. With Mallory by Sir Francis’s side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery.
But Mallory's loyalty wavers when she witnesses the brutal and bloody public execution of three Jesuit priests and realizes the human cost of her espionage. And later, when she discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she is forced to choose between her country and her heart.
Once Sir Francis's greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his worst threat—and there is only one way the Queen’s master spy deals with his enemies…
Karen Brooks is the author of fourteen books - historical fiction, historical fantasy, YA fantasy, and one non-fiction. She was an academic for over 20 years, a newspaper columnist and social commentator. She has a Ph.D. in English/Cultural Studies and has published internationally on all things popular culture, education and social psychology. An award-winning teacher, she's taught throughout Australia and in The Netherlands and keynoted at many education conferences. Nowadays, she finds greatest contentment studying history and writing, and helping her husband in his Brewstillery, Captain Bligh's.
She shares a beautiful stone house in Hobart, Tasmania, built in 1868, with her husband, adorable dogs and cats, and shelves brimming with books.