Gorgeous young stallion Philip Howard--whose father, the Duke of Norfolk, has just been executed for treason for marrying Mary Queen of Scots--is determined to carve out a career at the court of Elizabeth I by using his looks and other equipment as necessary. He captivates the aging Queen and is soon sharing her bed, meanwhile covering his options by making it with Lord Christopher Hatton and sundry lords and ladies on the side. His child-bride Anne, pure, passionately doting, and a recusant Catholic, is cruelly neglected until Philip's grandpa's death (and a vision of the Virgin Mary) bring him to his senses and the True Faith. But, alas, he is trapped in the clutches of the Bad Faerie Queen, who tends to shout ""off with her head"" at any of her young men's fancies; Philip's eventual infernal Towering--if not his preposterous saintliness--becomes inevitable. As for saga-maker Wiat, whose previous installments have thankfully stayed on her side of the Atlantic, off with her pen--if not her head.