It’s November 1583. Elizabeth I is in full stride (she has 20 more years to reign!). What a time in history! And M.J. Trow’s Silent Court does a good job of capturing the spirit, even the essence of those times. In this, the second of his Christopher (Kit) Marlowe mystery series, Trow’s story has us from the opening paragraph.
Following Dark Entry, the first of this series, we find young Kit (he’s 20) clearly on an “intelligencer” mission for Elizabeth’s chief spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, whose duty is to “protect the realm and the Queen at all costs,” especially from those vile, evil, and satanic papists!
At this time, the long arm of the papacy, through the armies of the King of Spain, are about to overrun the Low Countries (Holland and Flanders) and everyone knows that if they succeed, England will be next. And most likely doomed. It is up to Kit to protect the Dutch leader—at all costs, he’s told.
It’s subterfuge, deceit, magic, and tricks for this campaign (and Trow’s story). Kit is sent to Delft to protect the leader there and he must do so incognito. He joins a band of “Egyptians” (who aren’t Egyptian at all, but who are persona non grata in England and they are scrambling to get to the continent to safety). It’s a good set up for Kit, who, ultimately, saves the day.
Along the way, besides seeing the nefarious, yes, even evil Walsingham, we are united again with Dr. John Dee and his staff and Kit’s Cambridge fellows and are introduced to new characters (yes, villains, too).
The plot of Silent Court is basic, but Trow’s picture of Marlowe is excellent as we see
young Kit moving on with is life. Cleverly, Trow gives us hints as to Marlowe’s character and even what is destined to happen to this brilliant poet and playwright (not to mention spy master). For readers of historical fiction, this book (and the entire series) is well worth the time. What an enjoyable read.