Secret trysts. Daring dalliances. And a body in the orchard.
It’s Midsummer, 1591, at Richmond Palace, and love is in the air. Gallant courtiers sport with great ladies while Tom and Trumpet bring their long-laid plans to fruition at last. Everybody’s doing it — even Francis Bacon enjoys a private liaison with the secretary to the new French ambassador. But the Queen loathes scandal and will punish anyone rash enough to get caught.
Still, it’s all in a summer day until a young man is found dead. He had few talents beyond a keen nose for gossip and was doubtless murdered to protect a secret. But what sort — romantic, or political? They carried different penalties: banishment from court or a traitor’s death. Either way, worth killing to protect.
Bacon wants nothing more than to leave things alone. He has no position and no patron; in fact, he’s being discouraged from investigating. But can he live with himself if another innocent person dies?
“Characters that leap off the page.” — Karen Harper, NY Times best-selling author.