Already a great historian, Tracy Borman proves with this thrilling debut novel that she is also a born storyteller.
As she helps to nurse the dying Queen Elizabeth, Frances Gorges longs for the fields and ancient woods of her parents' Hampshire estate, where she has learned to use the flowers and herbs to become a much-loved healer.
Frances is happy to stay in her beloved countryside when the new King arrives from Scotland, bringing change, fear and suspicion. His court may be shockingly decadent, but James's religion is Puritan, intolerant of all the old ways; he has already put to death many men for treason and women for witchcraft.
So when her ambitious uncle forcibly brings Frances to court, she is trapped in a claustrophobic world of intrigue and betrayal - and a ready target for the twisted scheming of Lord Cecil, the King's first minister.
Surrounded by mortal dangers, Frances finds happiness only with the precocious young Princess Elizabeth, and Tom Wintour, the one courtier she can trust.
Or can she?
'Watch out Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, I can see a new contender for the Queen of Historical Fiction!' Netgalley reviewer
'A fascinating read, felt very true to time period but with that personal touch . . . Five stars' Jeannie Zelos book reviews