The 16th century is a hard and magnificent era to be born into, full of violence, squalor, forbidden love and rare glimmers of kindness. David Becket is a large ugly sword-master with a dark past; Simon Ames is a scrawny code breaker for Walsingham, the Elizabethan M – and a Jew. They meet when Ames is attacked in an alley in Whitefriars, London, and Becket bails him out. Later Ames will return the favour.
'Firedrake's Eye' – 1583 – The mismatched pair are trying to protect Queen Elizabeth from a fanatical English Catholic who's determined to kill her. What does the lunatic Tom O'Bedlam have to do with it all?
'Unicorn's Blood' – 1586 – When a devastating scandal threatens Queen Elizabeth and the country, she blackmails Ames into investigating. He agrees to come out of retirement to get Becket out of the Tower – and to save all the Jews in London from being expelled by the ruthless Queen.
'Gloriana's Torch' – 1588 – Philip of Spain's Armada, the largest fleet the world had ever seen, is on its way to England. Ames is chained to an oarbench on one of its ships while Becket is haunted by bloody dreams of England devastated by the Spanish army.
With the fate of two empires hanging in the balance, all will be swept up in the storm.