Tim's Reviews > Elizabeth's Spymaster: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War That Saved England

Elizabeth's Spymaster by Robert Hutchinson
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Mar 06, 10

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bookshelves: history
Read in February, 2010

I was a little disappointed in this book. It's rather uneven in depth, and has some very incongrous passages justifying or praising Walsingham's behaviour and motives. Without doubt Walsingham was a talented and dedicated man, but he hardly needs a modern apologist - at a distance of four centuries we can observe his actions with reasonable objectivity, and surely no reader of Elizabethan history needs to be reminded that the standards of the time were much different to our own.

An interesting aspect of the book is Hutchinson's rather dismissive treatment of Elizabeth. One can't help suspecting that he is dulling her a little so that Walsingham might shine more brightly, but as there are any number of authors over-hyping the Virgin Queen, that is perhaps understandable.

Readable, and has some useful information, but far from the definitive work on the subject.
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