The “lively” (The New York Times) Agents of the Crown series continues with this thriller about Queen Elizabeth I’s advisor John Dee in a race to save the Empire with the help of a mysterious manuscript that offers global power.
With rumors of the end times swirling, philosopher and astronomer John Dee travels to Prague in an effort to prevent one of Catherine de Medici’s seductive ladies-in-waiting from luring the Holy Roman Emperor into a crusade against England.
To convince the famously occult-loving Emperor to join his side, Dee entices him with the esoteric Book of Secrets, a volume that, if decoded, could provide the chance to control the levers of heaven and earth. But Dee faces enemies at every turn, including a female codebreaker who could be the undoing of Dee and the British Empire.
Chapter One CHAPTER ONE North Sea, last week of September 1583
When John Dee thinks about it later, when he is crouched covered in blood in the stern of a fluyt and watching the coast of Kent disappear forever into the sea mist, he wonders again why he had ever supposed, even for a solitary instant, that this could or would have ever ended otherwise.
Had the heavens not sent a sign? Had the skies over Mortlake that night not turned blood red? Had the clouds not burned bright with an unearthly glow, as if they were set aflame?