Another stiff preteen to the rescue. Simon, Sir Anthony Penryn's only son, sees his father hauled off to the Tower of London, wrongly accused of trying to put Elizabeth on Mary's throne. Fortunately Sir Anthony had shown Simon the secret room just the night before, the one with the ruby ring from Anne Boleyn and the papers that can clear him. Cousin Gwendolen taunts, villainous Uncle Richard keeps him in tow, scarred Ratsy is a suspicious instant comrade but Thomasina Angelica Redbold (""Mouse"") is a fine feathered friend, daughter of the leading Player in the troupe that Simon joins to get away from his enemies. And of course you can meet Mary and Elizabeth (""fire and ice"") and Robert Dudley, eavesdrop on a Ragged Company get-together, and wonder with Simon about the amnesiac sailor with a miniature of Lady Penryn in his possession ... if you wait that long. A royal pain in the arras.