The and contradictory figure of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, emerges as a personality in this minutely detailed and scholarly study of him in relation to his . Inevitably, there is some overlapping material with Elizabeth the Great, but even the duplication is presented with different focus, so that this book stands alone, independent of the other. Franklyn, this reader found it much less absorbing. The period with all its ramifications and bids for power, all its petty finaglings for position, its double-crossing and its ruthlessness demands the majestic figure of Elizabeth to rescue it. Leicester, even in relation to Elizabeth, is not enough, and one bogs down in the long struggle that dominated his life- to hold the affections of the queen, to maintain his power ever her- and, if he could not himself be her consort, to manipulate his family in such a way that the dominance would continue into the next reigning monarchy. It is not a pretty picture, nor is there enough of Leicester's really great contributions to the strengthening of England's economic power, his force in the world of the arts, some of his activities not wholly entangled in his lust for power. Other aspects of the court other facets of Elizabeth's strengths and weaknesses- enrich the tapestry. And the whole is set skillfully in the panorama of the times. Immensely worth while for all interested in the Elizabethan era, for all the pettiness of the humans that male it.