Thomas Cromwell, the king's Principal Secretary, Mark Smeaton, court songster and musician, and Henry VIII are all caught up in Anne Boleyn's catastrophic fall from power and grisly death. Anne is the supreme opposite of the king's first wife, Katherine, who dutifully washed her husband's shirts, never complained about his lovers, and rarely expressed an opinion but concealed behind a mantle of piousness the pride of a Spaniard.In contrast, Anne Boleyn possesses only two attributes that help her secure a crown - extraordinary perseverance and almost indecent ambition. Her other qualities - her nagging determination to have her own way, her cruelty and her dangerous lack of decorum - all spell disaster that no amount of sex appeal can avoid. The very steps she takes to save herself from her inability to supply the king with a male heir seal her fate. This is historical fiction wedded to historical reality at its best.