It is the year 1586. England is awash with traitors, plotting to assassinate the Queen and bring about a foreign invasion. The young physician Christoval Alvarez, a refugee from the horrors of the Portuguese Inquisition, is coerced into becoming a code-breaker and agent in Sir Francis Walsingham's secret service. In the race to thwart the plot, who will triumph - the ruthless conspirators or the equally ruthless State?
"More please ..."
Facing the threat of King Philip's Enterprise of England - Spanish invasion and annexation of the country - Sir Francis Walsingham's secret service spreads a network of agents across Europe. After caring for hundreds of maimed and wounded soldiers returning from the fall of Sluys, young physician and code-breaker Christoval Alvarez is sent on two dangerous missions to Amsterdam, where, amongst the friendly Hollanders, treason and treachery lurks.
The year after defeating the Spanish Armada, England retaliates. The expedition to Portugal sets out to destroy what remains of Spain's Atlantic fleet, drive the Spanish out of Portugal, put the claimant Dom Antonio of Aviz on the throne, and seize the Azores. But from the time the English fleet, led by Drake and Norreys, reaches Plymouth, things start to go wrong. Christoval Alvarez, sent to carry out two missions by Walsingham, has a more important private plan in mind.
"Today I had word that my brother Ya'aqôb is dead." When this news reaches Mariam, living in exile in the province of Gaul, memories of her girlhood in faraway Palestine are painfully awakened. For years she has blocked them from her mind, but as illness and old age overtake her, she begins to relive the time when she defied all propriety and convention and followed her charismatic brother Yeshûa and her betrothed Yehûd'a in their daring but perilous adventure.