I'm sort of surprised I finished this book, as I am not a fan of the Earl of Essex, and I almost put it down anyway when the story opens with the hero coming off a month-long drunk. Yawn.
But I persevered, and John Lawley is a fun character to follow around, in spite of all the insane and oftentimes suicidal decisions he makes. The author does a good job with the place and the time, London circa 1599 and all the attendant paranoia that consumed the population at that time. Elizabeth is robust, Robert Cecil weasely, and the ensemble cast whether real or fictional strut and fret their hour upon the stage with vigor.
Recommended for anyone who likes historical novels, Shakespeare, or swordfighting. You'll even find out what a swashbuckle is.