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Elizabeth's Spymaster: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War That Saved… (2006)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312368224, Hardcover)
England in the time of Elizabeth was on the brink of disaster. On the continent, Catholic Spain sought to forcefully reimpose the Catholic Church on its Protestant neighbors. At home, a network of powerful Catholic families posed a real and serious threat to the Protestant queen. In this world, information was power: those closest to the Queen were there because they had the best network to gather it.
Elizabeth's Spymaster is the story of the greatest spy of the time: Sir Francis Walsingham. Walsingham was the first 'spymaster' in the modern sense. His methods anticipated those of MI5 and 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 execution.
As Robert Hutchinson reveals, his cypher experts' ability to intercept other peoples' secret messages and his brilliant forged letters made him a fearsome champion of the young Elizabeth. 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 a Tudor epic, vividly narrated by a historian with unique access to the surviving documentary evidence.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:49 -0400)
"Elizabeth's Spy Master is a vivid narrative, based on new research, and set in a world of bloody intrigue, conspiracies and religious war. The England of Queen Elizabeth faced an implacable external enemy in the shape of Catholic Spain. Her realm was also menaced by an enemy within: a network of Catholic families that extended from remote regions to the capital and the court itself. The magnitude of the threat was illustrated over the Channel where Spanish armies sought to re-impose Catholicism on the Dutch by wholesale slaughter, rape and massacre. Only two things stood in their way: the English Channel and Sir Francis Walsingham." "Walsingham was in charge of the secret war in defence of Queen Elizabeth. His war was conducted in the shadows: blackmail, bribery, forgery and assassination were all in a day's work. He was not only the world's first recognisably modern 'spy master', but also the first 'secret policeman'. His world has uncomfortable resonances with ours: London was the target for religious fanatics who cheerfully accepted suicide missions to kill in the name of their faith. The Pope had branded Elizabeth a heretic and absolved her subjects of loyalty: an incitement to murder as powerful in its day as a fatwa. At the heart of this web of treason and conspiracy was the tragic figure of Mary, Queen of Scots." "Walsingham's ruthlessness is chilling, but commands respect, especially when the nature of his enemies is taken into account. He succeeded in getting informers into the Catholic houses and had spies at senior level within the Spanish Armada and even the Vatican itself. When Philip II of Spain heard of Walsingham's death in a report from his embassy in London, he wrote 'good news' in the margin. This book reveals why."--BOOK JACKET.
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