1582: England is a Judas nest of conspiracy. The bitter conflict between the Protestant and Catholic faiths threatens to tear the country in two. While Queen Elizabeth holds the reins of power, there are many whose loyalty lies with her imprisoned cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. On his first major mission for Sir Francis Walsingham, the young John Shakespeare is ordered to discover conspiracy to free the Stuart queen from Sheffield Castle. All too soon, he realises that the tentacles of the plot reach deep into his native Warwickshire and threaten his own friends and family. His duty lies with Elizabeth - but how far will he go to protect those he loves?