The popular sports and games of the queen’s realm, unfortunately, include treachery, treason, and murder.
Elizabeth and her court depart London for a summer progress replete with great manor houses, rural receptions, outdoor repasts, forbidden romance, and games and sport. By royal command, the young Francis Drake joins the entourage. A ship’s captain in his pre-glory days, he is desperate for Her Majesty’s approval, and she is disconcerted to discover that she desires his admiration as well.
However, someone’s idea of games and sport includes shooting crossbows and longbows at the queen and her captain. As bodies and clues pile up, the mystery and dangers deepen like the surrounding forests. Both Drake and the queen have cousins they cannot trust who may want them dead.
Elizabeth struggles to keep up a bold front for the cheering crowds and her watchful courtiers, but what terrifies her most is that her rival, Mary Queen of Scots, does not play by the rules. With Elizabeth’s coterie of friends, Elizabeth must fearlessly confront her foes before she loses both her crown and her head.