Elizabeth I has acceded to the throne of England, a position she has waited and schemed for all her life. She is surrounded by advisers, all convinced that they know what would be best for the country and certain that a young woman cannot form political judgments.
Elizabeth feels that she can rely on just one man: her oldest friend, Robert Dudley. It is soon plain that he is more than merely a friend.
In a house in the countryside waits a very different woman: Amy Robsart - Robert's wife. She has no taste for life at court and longs for the day when her husband will return home and attend to his family. She has loved him since she was a girl but now that they are adults, she hardly sees him.
Meanwhile, the pressure grows for Elizabeth to marry, for it is unthinkable that a queen should rule on her own. Elizabeth's preference is clear, but he is unavailable. But what if the unthinkable were to happen?
Philippa Gregory blends passion, personalities and politics in this stunning novel of the Tudor court and a country divided.