A dramatic novel of passion, politics and betrayal from the author of The Other Boleyn Girl.
They can fear me, and they can hate me. They can even deny me. But they cannot kill me.
1568. The Virgin Queen Elizabeth I has ruled England for ten years, but refuses to name a successor, despite the rival claims that threaten her kingdom.
Bess of Hardwick, the new Countess of Shrewsbury, has secured her future with her fourth marriage to George Talbot. Ambitious and shrewd, Bess anticipates royal favour when she and the Earl are asked to give sanctuary to the fugitive Mary Queen of Scots.
But the Scottish queen rails against house arrest in a desolate castle and plots to regain her throne. The castle becomes the epicentre of intrigue against Elizabeth, the Earl blinded by admiration for the other queen. Even Bess’s own loyalty is thrown into question. If Elizabeth's spymaster William Cecil links the Talbots to the growing conspiracy to free Mary, they will all face the Tower…
Praise for Philppa Gregory:
‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows.’
Peter Ackroyd, The Times
‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating.’ Sunday Times
‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent.’ DailyTelegraph
‘The contemporary mistress of historical crime fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands…Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.’ Kate Mosse, Financial Times
About the author
Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a major film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Her Cousins’ War novels were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen.
Philippa’s other great interest is the charity that she founded twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for over 200 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country.
Philippa is a former student of Sussex University and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University. In 2016, she was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award by the Historical Writers' Association. Her love for history and commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her site www.PhilippaGregory.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
In her latest foray into the lives and minds of Elizabethan shakers and movers, Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl) takes on Mary Queen of Scots during her 16-year house arrest. By the secret order of her cousin, Elizabeth I, Mary is held at the estate of George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick; the latter three share first-person narrative duties. The book centers on Mary's never-ending clandestine efforts to drum up enough support to take her cousin's throne, but the real story is in the clash of two women and the earl who stands between them. Shrewsbury's refusal to recognize superior intelligence and force of will in his wife, who runs the estate, and in Mary, who tries to make him her instrument at every turn, makes for one delicious conflict after another. The voices are strong throughout, but Gregory's ventriloquism is at its best with Bess of Hardwick, a woman who managed to throw off the restrictions of birth, class and sex in order to achieve things that proved beyond her titled husband.