1485. The world has changed. Henry VII sits on England’s throne following his defeat of King Richard III at Bosworth Field.
Enter Thomas Wolsey, a young man with a great deal of brains and even greater ambition. Despite his reputation for brilliance at Magdalen College, Thomas cannot help feeling he deserves more than Oxford can offer and leaves to seek new challenges elsewhere.
Moving from master to master, Thomas moves higher up the social ladder with each job until finally, he is in reach of the highest master in the land: the King of England himself!
But Thomas has no idea how treacherous the Tudor Court can be. His swift rise from butcher’s son to man of influence creates enemies at court, chief among them the king’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort.
Thomas can only hope and pray fortune will stay on his side.
England. 1515. Thomas Wolsey has risen higher than anyone thought possible, but he’s keen on rising even higher. If he could only become Lord Chancellor, Thomas knows he can change England forever.
The nobility has been abusing their position for years, while the Church has become openly corrupt. As Thomas works to right these wrongs at home, his diplomatic skills are severely tested abroad as foreign rulers either seek alliances with England or try to rob her blind!
There’s trouble at court, too. Royal feathers have been ruffled. The king still lacks a son to carry on the Tudor line, while he is being outshone in Europe by younger rivals. King Henry looks to his clever cardinal to restore his tarnished reputation.
Thomas comes up with an extraordinary idea. He will make his king the figurehead of a bold new treaty that will bring peace to all Europe.
England. 1521. Thomas Wolsey has just staged the most magnificent event of the century and his reputation as a statesman has never been greater. He has kings and emperors hanging on his every word and can be forgiven for believing the world is his for the asking.
But this is an illusion soon shattered. The European peace he hoped for is destroyed as foreign monarchs commit acts of aggression against one another, while at home, King Henry VIII is having a crisis of conscience that threatens the very stability of his realm. Henry fears England will descend into civil war when he dies. He desperately needs a son, and looks to Thomas to help him get one.
Thomas has a new mission: secure Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon so he can marry his new love, Anne Boleyn. But Thomas struggles to deliver the king's great matter, and Henry is growing impatient at the delay. He's ready to listen to Thomas's enemies who claim the cardinal is deliberately stalling.
Time is running out. The sharks are closing in. Thomas must get the divorce, or risk losing not only the king's love, but his life.
Robert Dudley is a child of the Tudor Court and he knows first-hand how dangerous it can be: his ruthless, tax-collecting grandfather was executed by Henry VIII and his father executed by Queen Mary I for his part in the Lady Jane Grey affair.
So with a family name tainted by treason, Robert knows he must use all his talents to rise. One of his talents is making himself indispensable to Queen Elizabeth, who soon finds she cannot live without him by her side.
But to many in England, and indeed, within the court, Robert is nothing but a rogue, a villain, a gypsy, always looking to see what he can pick up. And he's going to have a hard time convincing his enemies that there's more to him than just a gold-digger.
Robert believes he can become King - all he needs to do is persuade Elizabeth Tudor to marry him. But with Elizabeth determined to be a virgin queen, Robert discovers this is no easy task. He must be prepared to make great sacrifices to win his prize...
When Robert Devereux arrives at court, he catches the eye of the ageing Queen Elizabeth I. Grief-stricken after the death of her favourite, the Earl of Leicester, Robert spies an opportunity to step into his shoes.
But unlike his predecessor, Robert is not prepared to have Elizabeth dangle favours before him only to snatch them away again. His eyes are on a much bigger prize, that of the throne itself.
But Elizabeth is not willing to relinquish her power, so Robert has to fight for what he believes should be his.
There are no prizes for coming second at the Tudor court.
This fight is to the death!
England in the sixteenth century is a country in religious turmoil. King Henry VIII's Reformation has left England divided between Catholics and Protestants. Most of the those who cling to the Old Faith are content to conform to the laws of the land. But there are some Catholics who wonder where their allegiance lies - to England's heretic queen or the Pope?
But one man can answer that question for them.
Francis Walsingham is a staunch Protestant. As French ambassador, he witnesses the savagery of the St Bartholomew's Eve massacre, when Catholics slaughtered Protestants in their thousands, and when he returns home, he is determined that England will never suffer the same fate.
Walsingham creates a spy network that keeps him informed of Catholic plots against Elizabeth, especially those that have Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots at their centre, and he pursues her with vigour.
His mission is clear. He will protect Elizabeth from her enemies by whatever means necessary!