One of the most famous and tortured romances in history - between Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex - began in 1587, when she was fifty-three and he was nineteen. Their passionate affair continued for five years, until Essex was beheaded for treason in 1601. In a fast-paced succession of brilliantly-rendered scenes, Lytton Strachey portrays Elizabeth and Essex's compelling attraction for each other, their impassioned disagreements and their mutual struggle for power, which culminated so tragically - for both of them. Alongside the doomed love affair, Strachey pins colourful portraits of the leading characters and influential figures of the time: Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh, Robert Cecil and other members of her glittering court who fought to assert themselves in a kingdom and a country defined by Elizabeth's incomparable reign. Lytton Strachey here illuminates, in spellbinding prose, one of the most poignant affairs in history alongside the glamour and intrigue of the Elizabethan era.