""For those fans of Elizabethan plot and counterplot this book is irresistible." "
This is the fourth book about Giordano Bruno, an Italian ex-monk fleeing from the Inquisition because of his heretical views. He has established a niche for himself in the Elizabethan court as an investigator for Sir Francis Walsingham. He has found a home and protection in the house of the French Ambassador because of his work for the French King. All this is about to change as a new Ambassador is coming to England, and one not sympathetic to Bruno.
Bruno accompanies his friend Sir Philip Sidney to Plymouth to welcome Dom Antonio, pretender to the Portuguese throne and a would-be ally against the might of Spain. Sidney is desperate to find some adventure and is planning to ask Sir Francis Drake for a passage in his voyage to the Americas. He wants Bruno to go with him.
When they meet Drake on board the Elizabeth Bonadventure they find that all is not well as a member of the party has been found dead, apparently by his own hand but with sufficient doubts for Drake to ask Bruno to investigate. As he follows the clues, he discovers intrigue and treachery both in the ship's crew and in the town of Plymouth where Drake's ships are ready to sail.