Outside the palace gates, beyond the splendor and pageantry of Queen Elizabeth I court, all of England was in turmoil...as Elizabeth sought to repress the Catholic faith; as she plotted against her cousin and rival, Mary, Queen of Scots; as she drove her people to commit the highest acts of treason in battlegrounds and bedchambers, in the name of honor and chivalry, loyalty and love. Ever since girlhood, Alyssa Harcourt had dreamed of one man, Sir Philip Radcliffe, and vowed that everything she had, or ever would have, would be his for the asking. But when the time finally came, Sir Philip asked not for himself, but for his son, Thomas. Now, wed to a man who openly flaunts his dislike for her, his passion for her sister, and his contempt for his father, Alyssa nonetheless vows to be a good wife. Yet when Sir Philip's feelings for Mary, the embattled Scottish queen, draw him deep into a conspiracy against Elizabeth and into mortal danger, Alyssa must risk everything on a perilous rescue of the only man she ever truly loved.