Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


***All photos accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain -- NOT the property of History Undressed. If you'd like to obtain permission to use a picture from a post, please contact the author of the post.***

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Elizabethan Spies and Scottish Mercenary Maidens by Madeline Martin

I think spy stuff is super cool. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the amazing gadgets they had in history, like the pigeon who wore a camera on its chest, or the gun hidden in an umbrella. As time went on, spy gadgets become more and more creative, and the act of spying thus becomes more exciting.

I especially love looking up the spyware even later in history, when technology couldn’t be nearly so specific and more manpower and ingenuity was required. Which led me to discovering about Queen Elizabeth and her secret spy network.

This was headed by Walsingham who had fled England during the time of Queen Mary’s rule to escape persecution for being Protestant. Cuz who likes to die, right? Once Elizabeth took the throne, he came back and quickly found himself at her side to help ensure she stayed in power. While he was traveling, he realized there was information to be had, and set up a spy network all over Europe to ensure they had eyes and ears everywhere.

Here’s the thing though – being a spy was incredibly boring. It seems like an exciting thing to be asked to essentially be part of Elizabeth’s secret service, and many took it with grandiose plans of fame and fortune. However, it was a dangerous job with little pay that required way more waiting than it did activity. Also, they didn’t have spy gadgets, which is totally a bummer.

They did however, have the original 007. John Dee was a mathematician and astrologer who was so good at what he did that when violent storms vanquished enemies or new stars sparkled in the sky, people said he was the one responsible. He actually even was consulted by Elizabeth to choose which day her coronation would be performed based off his astrology. And here’s how he was the legit first 007 – when he signed letters to Elizabeth, he signed them with two zeros to indicate eyes and a 7 looming over the top of those eyes because 7 was a number offering protection and good luck. He was kind of an odd duck who said angels talked to him and told him to have sex with his best friend’s wife. It didn’t go over well and eventually he died destitute with only his daughter looking after him. Still – the original 007!

While many threats were uncovered, through information gleaned from overheard conversations as well as many, many decoded messages (milk/juice written in disappearing ink, coded messages, etc). The greatest threat of all though came from Mary Queen of Scots. When she came onto English soil the Catholics redoubled their efforts to get her on the throne by any means necessary. Walsingham knew this and gave her the rope to hang herself.

He encouraged her jailor to get to know her and become a trusted friend she could pass messages to and from through. He did exactly that and Walsingham, of course, read every one of them before resealing them and passing them along…until the exact one finally showed. It was hidden in a beer barrel and held enough evidence where he could convince Elizabeth to allow her cousin to be executed. What’s more, after Mary’s execution, Walsingham had anything that had her blood on it be burned to prevent any relics from being created.
Decoded letter from Mary Queen of Scots to Babbington. Letter was decoded by Thomas Phillips.

While the life of an Elizabethan spy was not quite so exciting, their efforts were highly effective and the controversial queen who chose not to marry and had a Catholic relative with a viable throw in for the throne living near her did not succumb to any plots – she died of natural causes at a ripe old age.

My spies in the Mercenary Maidens have a little more excitement going on for them. I used many of the artifacts and stories found in history as well as putting a historical twist on more modern techniques to create a fun action-based plot with some seriously kick butt women. I hope everyone enjoys reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. J

Kaid MacLeod couldn’t protect his clan from an unimaginable slaughter that killed his father and many of his people. He knows retaliation will only bring more death to his people, but if he does nothing, the massacres will continue. His clan is growing angry and all seems lost…until Kaid discovers his nemesis’s betrothed will be traveling through Scotland. Abducting her will give him the leverage he desperately needs to end the slaughter and bring peace to his clan.

Delilah Canterbury is not the highborn daughter of a noble, nor is she by any means wealthy, she’s merely pretending to be a Scottish laird’s betrothed as a means of bringing justice to the man rumored to seek vengeance. Beautifully dressed and ready to succeed on her first mission alone, Delilah is more than she seems…she’s a trap.

Matters get complicated as the truth behind their intentions come to light, especially when a sizzling attraction blossoms between them. With so many lives on the line, and loyalties pledged, will Kaid be able to save his people? And can their love survive the lies and ultimate betrayal? 

Praise for Highland Ruse:
“Fans of swashbuckling, high-drama adventure and romance are sure to revel in the second entry in the Mercenary Maidens series. With an empowered heroine and tormented hero, a high degree of sensuality and a fast-moving plot, readers are sure to be satisfied from beginning to end. The added mystery and contemporary theme of addiction enhance the story so it truly resonates with readers.” – RT Reviews

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/hramz
Nook: http://hyperurl.co/hrnk
iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/Hrib
Kobo: http://hyperurl.co/Hrkobo
Google Play: http://hyperurl.co/hrgp
Print: http://hyperurl.co/hrprint
BN Paperback: http://hyperurl.co/hrbnpb

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance with tons of page-turning action and tough heroines. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion) and Mr. Awesome. 

She loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, wine and Nutella. Check out her FB page on any given Friday to see what great new book she's giving away by one of her fellow authors.

Madeline’s Links:
Author website: www.MadelineMartin.com
Author Facebook page:
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Author Amazon Profile page: http://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Martin/e/B00R8OGFN2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 
*Email questions should be sent to: MadelineMartin@Ymail.com

No comments: