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Barblue

Elizabeth's Spy Master

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This is a very informative book on the work of Francis Walsingham during the reign of Elizabeth I. For the most part it covers the spying network Walsingham created in order to protect the fledgling Protestant faith in England and also the life of his queen.

 

Two major events are covered in the book; ensuring the death of Mary Queen of Scots to eradicate an ever present danger to Elizabeth, and gaining victory over the Spanish Armada. Both these events are covered in great detail down to the acquiring of masses of information from the diverse network of spies Walsingham and Lord Burghley had amassed. In doing this we are given excerpts from many of the documents available at the time - this can be a little tedious but if you were a student of the period it is fascinating.

 

At the end of the book there is an Epilogue for the main characters referred to in the book showing what happened to them after Walsingham's death. Following that is a list of the people in Walsingham's Spy Network which is described as a 'first comprehensive attempt to produce a consolidated list of the many spies and informants employed by Walsingham' There are over 70 names on this list with a short bio for each and also the many aliases used by them.

 

There are comprehensive notes, bibliography, chronology and index after this, so there is an awful lot of information here for the history student.

 

I was left knowing a lot more about the events surrounding the death of Mary Queen of Scots and the luck in defeating the Armada, yet still not really knowing Walsingham the man. Nevertheless it was a much better read than I expected.

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Sound really interesting Barblue. Walsingham seemed like quite a Machiavellian character who was not averse to acting as agent provocateur to ensure his ends were met.

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