The Licence of War
England is descending into a bloodier Civil War, and Beaumont, born a nobleman’s heir but with a shadowy past as a mercenary turncoat and spy, has been hired against his will as agent to the King’s new Secretary of State, the manipulative Lord Digby.
Beaumont is sent by Digby into enemy-held London on a cat-and-mouse hunt for his counterpart, Parliament’s twisted and vengeful spymaster. Already Beaumont suspects he can trust no one, not even Isabella, who has deep ties to Digby. As power struggles seethe within the Royalist camp and Beaumont’s tenuous faith in King Charles I’s cause is further eroded, he becomes haunted by nightmares portending two deaths: of the King, and of the Prince of Wales, for whom Beaumont cherishes a strong, protective bond.
At home, as his father’s health weakens, Beaumont’s duty is to choose a respectable wife to carry on the ancient line. But to part with his clever, bewitching mistress, Isabella Savage, will devastate him, even though he cannot completely trust her. Worse yet, a visitor from his mother’s Spanish past appears with a long-buried secret that could ultimately destroy the Beaumont family.
This exhilarating epic blends history and fiction in a seventeenth century alive with intrigue, passion, violence, and wit, from the embattled royal court at Oxford, where toxic rivalries seethe, to stately country estates and the colourful underworld of thieves and whores.