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England, Within the Pale, 1581

Doctor John Dee, court mage and advisor to the Queen, didn’t need a new apprentice.

Waking on a cold January morning to find his friend and neighbor, the Countess of Derby, on his doorstep was one surprise; to find her with a young girl in tow was another. An orphaned, half-Moorish girl, Amy Bassano, for whom a whole new world – a world of spycraft and sedition, of faeries and foul play, of magic and murder – was about to open. A world where a youthful Shakespeare – or, rather, the person who will become ‘Shakespeare’– is just starting out.

At least, thought Dee, she was interesting…

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