London in the time of Queen Elizabeth I is a bustling place, its streets crowded with vendors selling goods from all over the world. In the courtyard of St. Paul's Cathedral, Alice Wood competes with other booksellers, hawking pamphlets, plays, and the latest poetry from the continent. It is a lonely life for a hardworking young widow, and she will soon put it aside. When a black-clad stranger visits, speaking in riddles and asking questions about her long-vanished son, Alice will be drawn into an adventure straight out of one of her faerie stories.
The Elizabethan court has been infiltrated by the Fair Folk, a race of magical beings whose intentions are shadowy and dangerous. With the help of Christopher Marlowe, the city's most dashing playwright, Alice must untangle the faerie conspiracy to save her son—and the crown.