The man behind the scenes..

The Queen's Agent: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Rise of Espionage in Elizabethan EnglandThe Queen’s Agent: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Rise of Espionage in Elizabethan England by John Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book contains a lot of information, facts, names and figures. Not your few hour read and be done with it, because every sentence contains a vital piece of information. It is a little on the dry side and yet manages to steer clear of the monotony that usually plagues the more academic book.
Cooper depicts Elisabeth I as a woman ruled by men for men. Described as undecisive and if forced to decide her decisions were often dictated by her volatile emotions. Although Cooper describes Walsingham as being her protector, I think a different image emerges. One of a man who ruled behind the scenes without the pomposity of Wolsey or the greed of Cromwell.
The depth of the break in the kingdom caused by Henry VIII when he created his own church and tried to obliterate the other is the strongest thread throughout the book. That division has shaped the people and even today the rivers of hate run deep, especially in specific geographical areas.
Although there isn’t much physical evidence of Walsinghams spy ventures he seems to have built an intricate network of fellow conspirators or recruits.
In one of the last chapters he offers an explanation for the lost Roanoke colony, which to my great pleasure had nothing to do with vampires at all. (Sorry couldn’t help myself)
Overall the book ventures into many areas in the Walsingham era. The reader gets a clear image of what drove the man and his strong beliefs and a stronger sense of the Elisabethan era.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for my review.

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