John Dudley and Edward Seymour are the Redford and Newman (with less charm) of the Tudor set, childhood buddies and comrades-in-arms under Henry VIII. His death and the accession of nine-year-old Edward VI in 1547 pit the two against each other as rivals for the plumcake. Seymour is a skillful intriguer, Dudley a blunt soldier who must learn to conspire; and both lose their heads in various tedious ways, including the ultimate, with not much joy for the reader along the way to the scaffold. The enclosure movement and religious divisions add local color, but neither hero has any politics beyond self-interest in very uninteresting selves. Executive Suite in fancy dress.