A “superb” portrait of the Tudor-age spymaster that “paints a John le Carré–like world of double-dealing and intrigue” (The Sunday Telegraph). Elizabeth I came to the throne at a time of insecurity and unrest. Rivals threatened her reign; England was a Protestant island, isolated in a sea of Catholic countries. Spain plotted an invasion, but Elizabeth’s Secretary, Sir Francis Walsingham, was prepared to do whatever it took to protect her. He ran a network of agents in England and Europe who provided him with information about invasions or assassination plots. He recruited likely young men and “turned” others. He encouraged Elizabeth to make war against the Catholic Irish rebels, with extreme brutality, and oversaw the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. The Queen’s Agent is a story of secret agents, cryptic codes and ingenious plots, set in a turbulent period of England’s history. It is also the story of a man devoted to his queen, sacrificing his every waking hour to save the threatened English state.
“A superb new account of Walsingham and the Tudor age that paints a John le Carré–like world of double-dealing and intrigue. In pages of crisp prose and with punctilious scholarship and vivid storytelling, The Queen’s Agent brilliantly recreates Elizabethan England in all its cloak-and-dagger intrigue and glory. George Smiley would have liked it.” —The Sunday Telegraph
“Fascinating. John Cooper neither vilifies nor lionizes his subject, preferring to set his actions in context. The author’s lucid and readable study of this ‘most subtle searcher of hidden secrets’ does much to show that Walsingham’s work was odious though necessary.” —The Literary Review
John Cooper studied and taught history at Oxford before moving to the University of York. Cooper often lectures on the Tudor period and is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement. He lives in North Yorkshire with his wife, the author Suzanne Fagence Cooper.