Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She is currently the executive editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Visit her website at NancyBilyeau.com.
In London’s smoky taverns, a conspiracy is brewing: a group of wealthy young Catholic dissidents plot to assassinate Elizabeth, free Mary Queen of Scots—and open England to Spanish invasion. But the conspirators have been infiltrated by Sir Francis Walsingham’s top intelligencer, John Shakespeare.
Shakespeare, however, is torn: the woman he loves stands accused of murder. In a desperate race against time he must save her from the noose and the realm from treachery. And then it dawns that both investigations are inextricably linked—by corruption very close to the seat of power…
Published by William Morrow
When the Black Death reappears in England in 1361, Oswald de Lacy knows that the safest place for his wife and young son is the island-fortress of Eden, where his eccentrically pious friend Godfrey has invited the family to stay to wait out the plague during the long, dark winter. But Oswald has barely had time to settle in when a brutal murder shocks the household and it soon becomes clear that the castle is not the stronghold of security that they were so desperately looking for.
Oswald knows the castle isn’t safe, but neither is the plague-infested countryside outside its walls. His only hope is to solve the mystery of the murder before the killer strikes again. With a cast of characters like something out of Chaucer—a lord and lady, a knight, a religious radical, a court jester, a drunk, and a couple of traveling craftsmen are just some of the suspects Oswald must reckon with—and the all-consuming threat of the plague hovering just outside the castle walls, the newest novel in the Somershill Manor Mysteries is the most brilliant and frightening yet.
Haunted by his past, Brendan Prescott lives far from the intrigues of court. But his time of refuge comes to an end when his foe and mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings him disquieting news that sends him on a dangerous mission. Elizabeth is held captive at court, the target of the Spanish ambassador, who seeks her demise. Obliged to return to the palace where he almost lost his life, Brendan finds himself working as a double-agent for Queen Mary herself, who orders Brendan to secure proof that will be his cherished Elizabeth's undoing.
Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a mysterious opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to retrieve a cache of the princess's private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit, where power is supreme and sister can turn against sister, nothing—and no one—is what it seems.
Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who's far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha's past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city's most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther's murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.
Upon his arrival at the desolate sea-side manor where Lady Parry was last seen, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery in Vaughn Hall, the more he learns that in his zeal to uncover the truth, he could be precipitating Elizabeth's destruction.
From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the deadly underworld of London, Brendan must race against time to unravel a vendetta that will strike at the very core of his world—a vendetta that could expose a buried past and betray everything he has fought for, including his loyalty to his queen.
The Tudor Vendetta is the third volume in the Spymaster Chronicles series by C.W. Gortner.