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In this compelling novel of Tudor drama and suspense, acclaimed author Alison Weir brings to life one of Englands most scandalous royal love affairs: the romance between the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I and her courtier Lord Robert Dudley. Only twenty-five and newly crowned, Elizabeth vows to rule the country as both queen and king. But her counselors continually press her to form an advantageous marriage and produce an heir. Though none of the suitors have yet worked their way to her throne, the dashingthough marriedLord Robert lays claim to Elizabeths heart. Their flagrant flirting, their unescorted outings, and the appointment of Lord Robert to Master of Horse inspire whispers through the court, and even rumors that Elizabeth has secretly given birth to Lord Roberts child. Events take a dark turn when Roberts wife is found dead. Universal shock is followed by accusations of murder. Despite the scandal, Elizabeth and Robert manage to navigate the choppy political, economic, and religious waters around them. But the greatest obstacle to marriage between the Queen and her true love may come not from outside forces, but from within.