A royal scandal, set against the background of the Jacobean court, involving love, bribery, poison, treachery and black magic.
In the autumn of 1615 the Earl and Countess of Somerset were detained on suspicion of having murdered Sir Thomas Overbury. The arrest of these leading court figures created a sensation. The Countess was both young and beautiful: the Earl was one of the richest and most powerful men in the kingdom, having risen to prominence as the male 'favourite' of the monarch James I. In a vivid narrative, Anne Somerset unravels these extraordinary events, which were widely regarded as an extreme manifestation of the corruption and vice which disfigured the court during this period. It is at once a story rich in passion and intrigue and a murder mystery, for, despite the guilty verdicts, there is much about Overbury's death that remains enigmatic. The Overbury murder case profoundly damaged the monarchy, and constituted the greatest court scandal in English history.