1587 and the Spanish are preparing to launch the Armada, their Holy Enterprise of England, to rescue the English from heresy and Elizabeth, their Witch-Queen. Ex-soldier David Becket, now responsible for the Queen's Ordnance but struggling to deal with his tortured past, discovers that large quantities of gunpowder are going astray. Can someone in the heart of the English government be selling it to the Spanish? Unaccountably he is plagued by vivid dreams of England invaded, an alternative story where the Armada is victorious. Simon Ames, Becket's old friend, has been captured by the Inquisition in Lisbon as he attempts to elicit vital information for the Queen. His wife, Rebecca; a black slave, Merula, and Becket are permitted to rescue him on one condition. They must also infiltrate the Spanish fleet and unravel the riddle of the Miracle of Beauty. But Simon has been sentenced to work as a galley slave on the Armada and, chained to an oarbench, is now bound for England. Patricia Finney's brilliant reworking of the Armada story is an imaginative tour de force. Thrilling, intricate and inspiring, this is a tale of gods, of courage, of love, and, ultimately, of redemption.