Sir Francis Walsingham was the first ’spymaster’ in the modern sense. His methods anticipated those of the CIA, MI6 and even those of the KGB. He maintained a network of spies across Europe, including double-agents at the highest level in Rome and Spain - the sworn enemies of Queen Elizabeth and her Protestant regime. His entrapment of Mary Queen of Scots is a classic intelligence operation that resulted in her dramatic execution. As Robert Hutchinson reveals, his cipher experts’ ability to intercept other peoples’ secret messages and his brilliant forged letters made him a fearsome champion of the Tudor queen. Yet even this Machiavellian schemer eventually fell foul of Elizabeth as her confidence grew (and judgment faded). The rise and fall of Sir Francis Walsingham is an historical epic, as Elizabeth’s government battled against Catholic conspiracies to assassinate her and restore the religion to England. Walsingham’s dark methods to counter the threat against her awakens resonances with today’s war on global terrorism.
Robert Hutchinson, author and broadcaster started his working life as a reporter on regional newspapers before joining The Press Association, (the news agency for UK and Irish media) as a night sub-editor. He returned to reporting, later becoming Defence Correspondent. In late 1983 he joined Jane’s Publishing Company as one of the team that successfully launched Jane’s Defence Weekly and became Publishing Director of Jane’s Information Group in 1987, responsible for its magazines, newsletters, books and digital products.Leaving a decade later, he compiled and edited two ed...
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Frank McLynn, Independent on Sunday
"Robert Hutchinson’s lucid and learned volume gives us a vivid portrait of Walsingham… an excellent book"
Waterstones Books Quarterly
"Hutchinson neatly combines his expert knowledge with an impressive narrative suspense and mordant sense of humour… A darkly informative read."
Good Book Guide
"Impeccably researched… the author has constructed what almost amounts to a thriller in this gripping narrative ."
Simon Callow, Guardian
"Full of stimulating detail… vivid glimpses of the world of Elizabethan espionage."
The Book Magazine
"An accessible, authoritative account…written with a sense of the dramatic… The author is very good at evoking the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia during Elizabeth’s reign….It makes Elizabethan statecraft immediate and entertaining."