Lucy has been forced to run away from home as she fears for her safety from her drunken father. She is taken on as a maid at the house of Dr Dee, court magician, upon whom Elizabeth I relies heavily, even down to advising the date of her coronation. The household is strange and sinister, and Lucy has a nose for intrigue . . . And she has more than enough to satisfy her: Lucy stumbles across a plot to assassinate the queen and has to find means to warn her.