November, 1583. Desperate not to let the Protestant Low Countries fall into the hands of the Catholic Spain, the Queen's spymaster, Francis Walsingham, orders Cambridge scholar and novie spy, Christopher Marlowe, to assist the beleaguered Dutch leader, William the Silent, whose court is a hotbed of intrigue and treachery. However, travelling in disguise as part of a troupe of Egyptian players, Marlowe encounters trouble even before he reaches Dutch shores. When the players make a detour to perform at the home of the Queen's magus, Dr John Dee, one of their tricks ends in tragedy - and an arrest for murder. Charged with protecting the Dutch leader from his enemies within, Marlowe determines to unmask a coldblooded killer much closer to home.