Format: Hardcover, 352pp.n ISBN: 0684862670 Publisher: Scribner Pub. Date: December 1999 Ursula Blanchard “is the essence of iron cloaked in velvet-a heroine to reckon with,” said Kirkus Reviews of Fiona Buckley’s intrepid sleuth. And the sharp-witted Lady of the Presence Chamber will need every ounce of her courage if she is to carry out her latest mission on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I without betraying her own heart. Eager for a respite from intrigue and moral ambigiuties, Ursula agrees to travel to France to help her first husband’s father bring his young ward home to England. But duty soon calls. Fearing that the pro-Catholic forces threatening to tear France asunder will spread to Protestant England, the Queen instructs Ursula to personally deliver a secret letter to Catherine de MTdicis, offering to mediate the crisis. Not only will the perilous journey separate her from her young daughter, it will bring Ursula closer to a man she can neither trust nor forget-her estranged second husband, Matthew de la Roche, avowed Catholic and enemy of Elizabeth. As it becomes clear that someone seeks to thwart her mission, she realizes she can trust no one but herself, and that only she can uncover the truth hidden in the shadows of treason, greed, and desire that darken her way.