978-0-670-03426-0 / 0670034266

Her Majesty's Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage

by Stephen Budiansky




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About the book:

Sir Francis Walsinghams official title was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, but in fact this pious, tight-lipped Puritan was Englands first spymaster. A ruthless, fiercely loyal civil servant, Walsingham worked brilliantly behind the scenes to foil Elizabeths rival Mary Queen of Scots and outwit Catholic Spain and France, which had arrayed their forces behind her.

Though he cut an incongruous figure in Elizabeths worldly court, Walsingham managed to win the trust of key players like William Cecil and the Earl of Leceister before launching his own secret campaign against the queens enemies. Covert operations were Walsinghams genius; he pioneered techniques for exploiting double agents, spreading disinformation, and deciphering codes with the latest code-breaking science that remain staples of international espionage.

In the taut narrative of a spy novel, Budiansky recounts how this legendary spymaster invented the art and science of modern espionageand in the process set Elizabethan England on the path to empire.