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By John Pilkington

Spring, 1603: Queen Elizabeth is demise, and England waits anxiously. The Virgin Queen hasn’t named an inheritor, refusing even to talk. Her cousin James, King of Scotland, is believed to be her successor, yet will the transition be peaceable? Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of nation, fears rebellion and has introduced troops to the capital. yet from the place may possibly the chance come – abroad, or from malcontents towards home?

Meanwhile Marbeck, Cecil’s top intelligencer, is below a cloud, wrongly suspected of shady dealings with the Spanish. So while the son of his good friend woman Celia Scroop joins a fanatical Puritan sect, he’s pleased to go away London to attempt and locate the wayward formative years. yet occasions circulate quickly and Marbeck unearths himself in a maelstrom: pressured to confront plots from instructions, that threaten not just the peace of the country however the very cloth of britain itself . . .

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He requested eventually. ‘Can I no longer let you know what i do know right here and now, and prevent the trouble of dragging me alongside? ’ With a sob, he diminished his head. ‘My life’s worthy naught, no matter what follows,’ he wailed. ‘Do you really imagine you may get me to a jail? they've got intelligence – they’ll waylay us prior to we succeed in London. And no matter what I say, they’ll deem me a probability. I’ll die the place I stand – as will you, and …’ yet he broke off, as all of sudden Marbeck bought to his ft. ‘Have you comprehensive dressing? ’ he requested. ‘If so, depart the woman’s issues right here. you could trip first, whereas I stroll. I’ll bind your palms, leaving you adequate leeway to carry the pommel. i'll have the halter, so that you won’t be capable of get transparent. ’ He seemed down coldly at his prisoner; all discourse was once over. After a second Burridge bought up unsteadily. ‘I’d wish to have my doublet,’ he stated feebly. ‘It’s within the bag. ’ Marbeck went to Cobb, untied the bag and set it down. He unlaced it and rummaged inside of, then pulled out a blue-grey coat. ‘Good serge, and silk-lined,’ he murmured. ‘I’ll bet your pay’s a little bit greater than a shilling an afternoon. ’ He threw the garment unceremoniously at Burridge, then peered into the bag back. ‘Well now …’ attaining inside of, Marbeck drew out a wad of papers tied with white ribbon. He regarded up at Burridge, whose face used to be now an identical color. ‘Despatches, possibly? ultimate directions to Drax – or are they letters meant for her royal highness, the Infanta? ’ Burridge appeared away, shaking his head. Having famous with pride the pay chest filling the ground of the bag, Marbeck closed it, stood up and retied it to Cobb’s saddle. Then he became, one hand at the pommel. ‘Come the following whereas I bind your wrists. Then position a foot within the stirrup, and allow me hoist you up. I’ll attempt to not allow you to fall. ’ The paymaster hesitated. He now not wept; his eyes scanned the panorama, yet he knew he used to be no fit for his captor. With a sigh, he got here ahead and held out his fingers. ‘I idea you had questions,’ he requested, conversing so low that Marbeck needed to cock an ear to listen to him. ‘I do,’ he responded. ‘But in retrospect, we’ll shop them for this night. we'd even locate an resort to leisure in – even though if you’ve any notions of having away, I’d set them apart. I suggest to force you until eventually you could slightly get up. ’ Then with no expression, he drew a stout twine from his pocket. 13 by means of dusk they'd reached Canterbury, and Marbeck was once pretty much as good as his observe. although Burridge had ridden for as a lot of how as his captor had, the guy used to be exhausted. He limped badly, his sneakers being not worthy for strolling any distance. regardless of laying off his woman’s garments, he stank with sweat. dust streaked his breeches. As they approached the archway referred to as the using Gate, he stumbled to a halt. Marbeck sat within the saddle, scanning the partitions of the outdated urban. ‘There’s a spot within sight Greyfriars,’ he stated. ‘We’ll take the easiest room …’ He regarded down at his captive, who gazed up blearily. ‘The reckoning might be paid out of that chest. ’ He dismounted, and after elimination Burridge’s bonds, led Cobb during the gateway into bustling streets, the paymaster dragging at the back of.

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