Gripping true story of the man who really was the power behind Elizabeth's throne Based on original sources, some still held by MI6 today Reveals for the first time the identity of his 53 agents and double-agents at European courts and at the Vatican Praise for ELIZABETH'S SPY MASTER: 'An accessible, authoritative account ... The author is very good at evoking the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia during Elizabeth's reign ... makes Elizabethan statecraft immediate and entertaining' Book Magazine 'Robert Hutchinson's lucid and learned volume gives us a vivid portrait of Walsingham ... an excellent book' Independent on Sunday 'Vivid' Telegraph 'Hutchinson's book is full of stimulating detail...give us vivid glimpses of the world of Elizabethan espionage and, in the process, sheds fresh light on that most complex and contradictory figure, the Queen herself' Guardian 'Impeccably researched...the author has constructed what almost amounts to a thriller in this gripping narrative which raises issue still immensely relevant to our own troubled times' Good Book Guide
Francis Walsingham was the first 'spymaster' in the modern sense. His methods anticipated those of MI5 and MI6 and even those of the KGB. He maintained a network of spies across Europe, including double-agents at the highest level in Rome and Spain - the sworn enemies of Queen Elizabeth and her protestant regime. His entrapment of Mary Queen of Scots is a classic intelligence operation that resulted in her execution. As Robert Hutchinson reveals, his cypher experts, ability to intercept other peoples' secret messages and his brilliant forged letters made him a fearsome champion of the young Elizabeth. Yet even this machiavellian schemer eventually fell foul of Elizabeth as her confidence grew (and judgement faded). The rise and fall of Sir Francis Walsingham is a Tudor epic, vividly narrated by a historian with unique access to the surviving documentary evidence.