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The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I Paperback – 5 Jul 2012
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'A superb new account of Walsingham and the Tudor age, paints a John le Carre-like world of double dealing and intrigue ... In pages of crisp prose and with punctilious scholarship and vivid storytelling, The Queen's Agent brilliantly recreates Elizabethan England in all its cloak-and-dagger intrigue and glory. George Smiley would have liked it.' --Sunday Telegraph
'Fascinating ... John Cooper neither vilifies nor lionises his subject, preferring to set his actions in context ... Cooper does not neglect other less well-known aspects of Walsingham's career ... Cooper's lucid and readable study of this 'most subtle searcher of hidden secrets' does much to show that Walsingham's work was 'odious though necessary'.' --Literary Review
'Walsingham emerges as a severe, complex and haunted character in this compelling biography.' --Sunday Telegraph
The Queen's Agent by John Cooper is the definitive book about Francis Walsingham, the first great English spy master and the man who saved Elizabeth's regime and England's independence.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
There are gaps, where we simply don't know things, but the author does well to point these out and offer suggestions.
The style is eminently readable, and well-paced, and it gives a good feel for the times, and what it was like to work in the court of Elizabeth.
If you are interested in this period of history, then this book is a must.
The book divulges that Elizabeth's reign was never secure from the threat of harm which predominantly emanated from Catholic hostility abroad, namely, from French and Spanish interests, with the Huguenot massacre threatening to spill over into England and with Philip II eagerly awaiting any opportunity to manipulate and exploit domestic discontents at home.
Cooper presents a lively portrait of Francis, who with the constant threat looming on the continent, utilised his own spymasters abroad in the Spanish and French embassies, and even on occasion, utilised contacts as far as Italy and the Ottoman Empire to help protect Queen and Country from the continuing threats of invasion.
The despatches show that Walsingham played a key role in exposing a number of homegrown plots to overthrow the Queen, notably, plots concocted by the likes of William Parry, Francis Throckmorton and Anthony Babington.
He was also at the forefront of events concerning Mary, Queen of Scots, and along with his famous decipherer Thomas Phelippes, was able to secure the evidence needed to effect her downfall.
The work is on balance, a sympathetic portrait of Francis Walsingham, which displays his evident ability and religious convictions stemming from a genuine commitment to his faith.Read more ›
The lengthy and important political career that Walsingham had prior to 1577, when the growing threat of a revival in Catholicism and missionary priests threw internal security, and Walsingham's role in same, into the spotlight, was a revelation to me. It helps to explain Walsingham's later career (which is more popularly known, even if somewhat vaguely, by most), and his conviction and loyalties to his religion and his monarch. Having been present in Paris during the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572, it is not difficult to see how Walsingham could translate the concept of such religious and political threats over to his own country. In this marvellous book, we also get to read of the lives of some of the conspirators; how it was that they appeared to turn against their country and their queen; and how Walsingham and Burghley built the mechanisms to deal with these menaces.
There are interesting and very enlightening chapters in the book also on relations with France, the Babington plot to free Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabethan attempts to govern Ireland, as well as the dreams of the growing "English Empire".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although I am about a third of the way through this book I am finding it an excellent read.
It is the type of book that I will keep in my personal library with a view to... Read more
I bought this book because I am interested in the Elizabethan secret service and especially their use of cryptographers and linguists like Thomas Phelippes. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Paul Ferguson
An in-depth study, very readable and great for setting the scene and telling the story - let alone the history - of this important but secretive Elizabethan figure.Published 9 months ago by Angela Donovan
I wanted to find out more about Walsingham's network of spies and pursuivants and I didn't read the blurb carefully enough. Read morePublished 14 months ago by J. Crowe
Yet another Christmas present for my son - and this one I knew he wanted!Published 16 months ago by MLM
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