The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford
Elizabeth I’s reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a ‘Jezebel’ and heretic who had to be destroyed. The Watchers is a thrilling portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers, agent provocateurs and confidence-men who would stop at nothing to defend the realm.
‘Forget Le CarrÃ©, Deighton and the rest – this is more enthralling than any modern spy fiction’ Daily Telegraph
‘Absorbing and closely documented … Alford vividly evokes this murky world of codes, ciphers, invisible ink, intercepted letters, aliases, disguises, forgeries and instructions to burn after reading … flowing narrative [and] crisp judments … engrossing’ Guardian
‘[Alford] has brought a dash of le CarrÃ© to the 16th century’ The Times (Book of the Week)
‘A vivid and staggeringly well-researched portrait of the sinister side of Elizabethan England … This is a spectacular book. It sheds new light on plots that most historians have ceased to explore and brings less famous conspiracies to the attention of the general reading public’ Herald
‘Fascinating … If you want to know the inside story of this struggle, the dark heart of calculation and the fight for survival, then this is the book to read. I know no better’ Spectator
About the author:
Stephen Alford is the author of the acclaimed biography Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He taught for fifteen years at Cambridge University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of King’s College. He is now Professor of Early Modern British History in the University of Leeds.