What if the key to your heart lies in your enemy's hands?
In a world where no one can be trusted and secrets are currency, one woman stands without fear.
Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London's master locksmith. For her there is no lock too elaborate, no secret too well kept. Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster and protector of Queen Elizabeth - the last of the Tudor monarchs - and her realm, is quick to realise Mallory's talent and draws her into his world of intrigue, danger and deception. With her by his side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery, no plot secure.
But Mallory's loyalty wavers when she witnesses the execution of three Jesuit priests, a punishment that doesn't fit their crime. When Mallory discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she has to make a choice - between her country and her heart.
Mallory, however, carries her own dark secrets and is about to learn those being kept from her - secrets that could destroy those she loves.
Once Sir Francis' greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his worst threat...and everyone knows there's only one way Sir Francis deals with those.
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Spoilt by the ponderous narration
Can we have better female protagonists?
Mallory Bright is not in any way believable as she is set out in the story. She is supposed to be a smart woman who has been through a humiliating experience. I know there is some dispelling of belief for the story line, but this woman needs so much validation from her love interest it is honestly boring and a bit insulting as a female reader. This story assigns very modern beliefs about women to a historical context, so if Mallory is smart enough and skilled enough to be a "watcher" then don't make her whine and need endless reassurance and validation. As I have worked with victims of sexual violence as well, the way that is handled is also too much like a cheap romance novel. I was intrigued with the concept, but left entirely disappointed.
When writing scenes about intimacy it is very old fashioned to have a female character need that much validation before anything physical occurs. I felt sorry for the man in the book. If I had to reassure a woman that much I would have gone down to the brothel and have her write all her needs down so I could address them all together. Either that or I would have lost all interest.
She needs to work on her male character and reading
Disappointment and I am a bit offended that this is still the way we portray women in books.
The concept was great. I would have kept the watcher bits and downplayed the love interest part. Could have been a series if it was done that way.
- Jennifer Olson