Tudor Spies in The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I

The WatchersWhen Elizabeth I took the throne, England and Europe were in the midst of religious upheaval between Protestants and Catholics that frequently ended in bloodshed. Her reign was threatened as some of her own subjects and the Catholic powers of Europe wanted to see her downfall. With uncertainty and the belief that someone will act upon assassinating or overthrowing England, a large secret intelligence network was created complete with spies, code breakers, espionage, and torture.

The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I is the true account of the plots that surrounded Elizabeth’s reign from the attempted assassination of Elizabeth to putting Mary Queen of Scots on England’s throne and even undercover priests entering England to try to influence the local populations. The author, Stephen Alford, has studied the original records and created a vivid picture of the men within the intelligence network including the spies that even sometimes switched sides. This book is a fascinating account of the dangerous game of spying.


Christina Callison has been blogging about books for the library’s website since 2006. She has read hundreds of books that include mysteries, fantasies, horror, thrillers, non-fiction, general fiction, and some science fiction. She continues with her goal of finding new books and authors to recommend.