This is a fascinating period of history with plots, religous strife and the problems facing England when ruled by a monarch with no heir. What I liked was the attitude of David Loades who, correctly to my mind, believed that everything was connected and that topics like foreign policy, religon and home affairs were all interlinked. He also made you realise how much Elizabeths policies were forged by the Cecils and vice versa. It was a kind of political duel between the Queen and her advisors. The author was good in that he admitted to gaps in the records and that we will never really quite know what the Earl of Essex was actually thinking and that we don't know much at all about Robert Cecils private life. I would rather this than speculation and it is good to know that in the past people were not quite as self obsessed as we currently are and even the most powerful people kept some things to themselves! Finally, three cheers for Robert Cecil, a real hero who sorted out the succession and even a change of royal house without having to spill torrents of blood. Good for him!