March, 1587. Christopher Marlowe’s play Tamburlaine has opened at the Rose Theatre. But the play is almost shut down on its opening night. For a member of the audience, Eleanor Merchant, lies dead, hit by a musket ball fired from the stage. The man with his finger on the trigger? A bit-part player named Will Shakespeare.
Convinced of Shakespeare’s innocence, Marlowe determines to find out what really happened. When a second body is found floating in the River Thames, it becomes clear that Eleanor Merchant’s death was no accident and that something deeper and darker is afoot. And why is the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, taking a close personal interest in the case?