This is book number 1 in the John Shakespeare Mystery series.
Martyr is the first installment in Rory Clements' acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, "does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's" (Sunday Times).
England is close to war. Within days the axe could fall on the neck of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Spain is already gathering a battle fleet to avenge her.
Tensions in Elizabeth I's government are at the breaking point. At the center of the storm is John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer in the secret service of Sir Francis Walsingham. When an intercept reveals a plot to assassinate England's "sea dragon," Francis Drake, Shakespeare is ordered to protect him. Busy fitting out his ships on land, Drake is frighteningly vulnerable. If he dies, England will be open to invasion.
From the splendor and intrigue of the royal court to the sleek warships of Her Majesty's Navy and the teeming brothels of Southwark, Shakespeare soon learns that nothing is as it seems . . .
After a career in national newspapers, Rory Clements now lives in a seventeenth-century farmhouse in Norfolk and writes full time. When not immersing himself in the Elizabethan world, he enjoys village life and a game of tennis with friends. He is married to the artist Naomi Clements-Wright. There are five books in the John Shakespeare series of Elizabethan mysteries: Martyr, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award; Revenger, which won the 2010 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award; Prince, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award; Traitor; and Monarch. All are published by John Murray. A TV series based on the books is currently in development.
You can find out more about Rory, his writing and the world of John Shakespeare on his website www.roryclements.com and at www.johnmurray.co.uk.