Adventurer, soldier, courtier, poet, prisoner – outsider.
Drawn by ambition to Elizabeth’s court, Walter Raleigh soon becomes the queen’s favourite. But his meteoric rise attracts the enmity of powerful rivals.
Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s spy master, proves a dangerous enemy. While the Earl of Oxford is an equally dangerous friend.
Even Elizabeth’s favour is an uncertain gift. It can be withdrawn on a whim as easily as it is granted and earns him as much trouble as it does profit.
Seeking gold for his queen and glory for himself, Raleigh launches a series of ever more reckless adventures.
The ultimate prize he dreams of is the fabled city of Eldorado in the New World. He is possessed by the dream.
After Elizabeth’s death, Raleigh fails to find favour with the new king and is imprisoned in the Tower. To restore his reputation, he embarks on his most desperate venture yet.
By now an old and broken man, he risks everything to discover the city of his dreams.