The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I

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9780141043654: The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I

In a Europe aflame with wars of religion and dynastic conflicts, Elizabeth I came to the throne of a realm encircled by menace. To the great Catholic powers of France and Spain, England was a heretic pariah state, a canker to be cut away for the health of the greater body of Christendom. Elizabeth's government, defending God's true Church of England and their great queen, could stop at nothing to defend itself. Headed by the brilliant, enigmatic, and widely feared Sir Francis Walsingham, the Elizabethan state deployed every dark art: spies, double agents, cryptography, and torture.

Delving deeply into sixteenth-century archives, Stephen Alford offers a groundbreaking, chillingly vivid depiction of Elizabethan espionage, literally recovering it from the shadows. In his company we follow Her Majesty's agents through the streets of London and Rome, and into the dank cells of the Tower. We see the world as they saw it―ever unsure who could be trusted or when the fatal knock on the door might come. The Watchers is a riveting exploration of loyalty, faith, betrayal, and deception with the highest possible stakes, in a world poised between the Middle Ages and modernity.

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About the Author:

Stephen Alford is a fellow in history at King's College, Cambridge, and the author of the acclaimed Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I, The Early Elizabethan Polity: William Cecil and the British Succession Crisis, 1558-1569, and Kingship and Politics in the Reign of Edward VI. He writes for the Times Literary Supplement and other periodicals.

Review:

“The secret agents who labored to prove Mary's guilt and bring about her execution are the stars of this meticulous chronicle ... Elizabeth's spies routinely used the rack for interrogations; torture was then, as now, justified as a means of protecting 'the security of the state.'” ―New Yorker

“Alford populates this engaging study of Elizabethan espionage with a cast of colorful characters and exposes the dark underbelly of a period that is often better known for Shakespeare and the triumph against the Spanish Armada. Secret correspondence, infiltration into the ranks of exile English Catholics in Rome and the betrayal of double agents are some of the thrilling elements that comprise this little-known tale.” ―Ilana Teitelbaum, Shelf Awareness

“It provides a genuine--and compelling--reappraisal of one of the most studied periods in English history: the reign of Elizabeth I. In exploring the world (or underworld) of Elizabethan espionage, Alford takes us on a darker, more disturbing and arguably more fascinating journey through the Elizabethan era than any other historian of the period ...[An] engaging and perfectly pitched narrative. ... Alford weaves together the bewilderingly complex threads of plots and counterplots so skillfully that as a reader you are never left floundering.” ―BBC History Magazine (named a Pick of the Month)

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ISBN 10: 0141043652 ISBN 13: 9780141043654
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford Elizabeth I s reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a Jezebel and heretic who had to be destroyed. The Watchers is a thrilling portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers, agent provocateurs and confidence-men who would stop at nothing to defend the realm. Reviews: Forget Le Carre, Deighton and the rest - this is more enthralling than any modern spy fiction Daily Telegraph Absorbing and closely documented .Alford vividly evokes this murky world of codes, ciphers, invisible ink, intercepted letters, aliases, disguises, forgeries and instructions to burn after reading .flowing narrative [and] crisp judments .engrossing Guardian [Alford] has brought a dash of le Carre to the 16th century The Times (Book of the Week) A vivid and staggeringly well-researched portrait of the sinister side of Elizabethan England .This is a spectacular book. It sheds new light on plots that most historians have ceased to explore and brings less famous conspiracies to the attention of the general reading public Herald Fascinating .If you want to know the inside story of this struggle, the dark heart of calculation and the fight for survival, then this is the book to read. I know no better Spectator About the author: Stephen Alford is the author of the acclaimed biography Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He taught for fifteen years at Cambridge University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of King s College. He is now Professor of Early Modern British History in the University of Leeds. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141043654

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford Elizabeth I s reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a Jezebel and heretic who had to be destroyed. The Watchers is a thrilling portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers, agent provocateurs and confidence-men who would stop at nothing to defend the realm. Reviews: Forget Le Carre, Deighton and the rest - this is more enthralling than any modern spy fiction Daily Telegraph Absorbing and closely documented .Alford vividly evokes this murky world of codes, ciphers, invisible ink, intercepted letters, aliases, disguises, forgeries and instructions to burn after reading .flowing narrative [and] crisp judments .engrossing Guardian [Alford] has brought a dash of le Carre to the 16th century The Times (Book of the Week) A vivid and staggeringly well-researched portrait of the sinister side of Elizabethan England .This is a spectacular book. It sheds new light on plots that most historians have ceased to explore and brings less famous conspiracies to the attention of the general reading public Herald Fascinating .If you want to know the inside story of this struggle, the dark heart of calculation and the fight for survival, then this is the book to read. I know no better Spectator About the author: Stephen Alford is the author of the acclaimed biography Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He taught for fifteen years at Cambridge University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of King s College. He is now Professor of Early Modern British History in the University of Leeds. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141043654

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. Book Condition: New. 2013. Paperback. The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford Elizabeth I's reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a 'Jezebel' and heretic who had to be destroyed. This title is a portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers and more. Num Pages: 416 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; 3JB; HBJD1; HBLH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 24. Weight in Grams: 316. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780141043654

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2013. Book Condition: New. 2013. Paperback. The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford Elizabeth I's reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a 'Jezebel' and heretic who had to be destroyed. This title is a portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers and more. Num Pages: 416 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; 3JB; HBJD1; HBLH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 24. Weight in Grams: 316. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780141043654

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I, Stephen Alford, The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford Elizabeth I's reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a 'Jezebel' and heretic who had to be destroyed. The Watchers is a thrilling portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers, agent provocateurs and confidence-men who would stop at nothing to defend the realm. Reviews: "Forget Le Carre, Deighton and the rest - this is more enthralling than any modern spy fiction". (Daily Telegraph). "Absorbing and closely documented.Alford vividly evokes this murky world of codes, ciphers, invisible ink, intercepted letters, aliases, disguises, forgeries and instructions to burn after reading .flowing narrative [and] crisp judments .engrossing". (Guardian). "[Alford] has brought a dash of le Carre to the 16th century". (The Times (Book of the Week)). "A vivid and staggeringly well-researched portrait of the sinister side of Elizabethan England.This is a spectacular book. It sheds new light on plots that most historians have ceased to explore and brings less famous conspiracies to the attention of the general reading public". (Herald). "Fascinating.If you want to know the inside story of this struggle, the dark heart of calculation and the fight for survival, then this is the book to read. I know no better". (Spectator). About the author: Stephen Alford is the author of the acclaimed biography Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He taught for fifteen years at Cambridge University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of King's College. He is now Professor of Early Modern British History in the University of Leeds. Bookseller Inventory # B9780141043654

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