Once again the author carries the reader into the life and perilous times of Elizabethan London, his focus on Lord Westfield's Men--a theatrical troupe led by gifted, mercurial leading man Lawrence Firethorn but held together by the strength of stage- manager Nick Bracewell (The Nine Giants, etc.). This time, big trouble looms everywhere: Queen Elizabeth appears to be dying, and long political knives are out in the struggle for her successor- -some of them in the hands of the Earl of Chichester, a supporter of Banbury's Men, the Westfield company's archrival. Meanwhile, Nick's troupe has lost talented actor Owen Elias to Banbury's Men; Firethorn, in the absence of fiery wife Margie, has lost his head over devious beauty Beatrice Capaldi, jeopardizing the company's future; and popular Westfield star Sebastian Carrick has been killed by a prostitute's murderous accomplice and must be avenged. To save his beloved troupe, Nick must resolve these problems and more. He'll do it all with brio and panache. A heady romp, solidly grounded on fascinating historical detail.