Elizabeth, Queen of England, has taken on the mighty Spanish Armada and, in a stunning sea battle, vanquished it. But her troubles are far from over. At home she is challenged at every turn by the brilliant but reckless Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose dangerous mix of passion and political ambition drives the aging queen to distraction.
Just across the western channel, her colony—Ireland—is embroiled in seething rebellion, with the island's fierce, untamed clan chieftains and their "wild Irish" followers refusing to bow to their English oppressors.
Grace O'Malley—a notorious pirate, gunrunner, and "Mother of the Irish Rebellion"—is at the heart of the conflict. For years, she has fought against the English stranglehold on her beloved country. At the height of the uprising, Grace takes an outrageous risk, sailing up the Thames to London for a face-to-face showdown with her nemisis, the Queen of England. The historic meeting of these two female titans set the stage for the telling of the little-known but crucial saga of Elizabeth's Irish war, a conflict at the very root of every subsequent Irish uprising.