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All the Queen's Players    by Jane Feather order for
All the Queen's Players
by Jane Feather
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

In 1786, young Rosamund Walsingham leads a quiet life in the Kent countryside with the family servants. She is visited infrequently by her brother Thomas until her cousin, Sir Francis Walsingham (Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State), decides she can be of use to him. Sir Francis installs her at the queen's court where she is expected to act as his spy. Her service will be rewarded with an advantageous marriage.

Rosamund is a talented sketch artist, which is appreciated by both Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis. For Walsingham, her talent represents a valuable facet in her role as his spy. Rosamund also loves the theater as does the queen who often brings current plays to be performed at the palace.

Rosamund is na´ve, but game to do whatever is asked of her. Her brother's friend Christopher Marlowe is a playwright who is also employed as a spy for Sir Francis. Through Marlowe, she meets William Creighton during a clandestine visit to the theater. Thrown together at court, William and Rosamund begin an ill-fated romance that eventually gets her dispatched in disgrace to the remote castle where Mary Stuart is held prisoner.

The book begins with a prologue in which Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded. You could hardly call this a spoiler, but it was unnecessary to entice the reader into the book. My interest was grabbed right away by the first chapter, when young Rosamund spies on the arrival of her brother Thomas and his lover, Christopher Marlowe.

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