Alison Weir was already one of Britains most popular historians when she wrote her first novel, Innocent Traitor, which hit the Sunday Times bestseller list to a chorus of praise. Now, in her second novel, Alison Weir goes to the heart of Tudor England at its most dangerous and faction-riven in telling the story of Elizabeth I before she became queen. The towering capricious figure of Henry VIII dominates her childhood, but others play powerful roles: Mary, first a loving sister, then as queen a lethal threat; Edward, the rigid and sad little King; Thomas Seymour, the Lord High Admiral, whose ambitions, both political and sexual, are unbridled. And, an ever-present ghost, the enigmatic, seductive figure of her mother Anne Boleyn, executed by Henry, whose story Elizabeth must unravel. Elizabeth learns early that the adult world contains many threats that have to be negotiated if she is to keep her heart and her head.