"Masked gunmen ambush Queen Elizabeth as she travels through Waltham forest, peppering her carriage with ball holes before disappearing like wraiths in the night. In the tense hours that follow, while no one knows whether she will live or die, her councillors must make decisions, and roll dice. Some argue for acceptance of the new Queen: Mary of Scotland, while others - John Dee - argue the fight against the darkness must go on, and that he should go across the sea, and into the courts of the Queen's enemies, to do to them what they would do to her. When she survives, Francis Walsingham - responsible for her safety - must explain how such a plot could so nearly succeed: who are the gunmen? How did they know she was coming on that road, that night, and in which carriage she would be travelling? And more importantly, where are they now? Robert Beale, Walsingham's deputy, shaken by the thought of Mary of Scotland inheriting the throne and returning England to Catholicism, stumbles on a solution if such a thing could happen again, but the scheme is lethally fraught with risk, and should it be uncovered, he will be hung, drawn and quartered as a traitor. And in her fever her Majesty dreams of fire, and on waking, comes to believe the only way to protect her country is with Greek Fire, the secret of which died with the Byzantines, but which she commissions her disappointed alchemist and scholar John Dee to rediscover. With the help of one of the Queen's women - Jane Frommond - Walsingham learns the depth and complexity of the plot to kill the Queen; Robert Beale falls violently in love and John Dee reluctantly rediscovers Greek Fire. But their enemy is cunning, and fate fickle. Beale's plot is uncovered, and the Greek Fire stolen, and the Queen's would be assassins evade capture, only to reappear, bent on inflicting a grisly death on Her Majesty. Only one man can stop them. John Dee"-- Provided by publisher.