This has been a journey of discovery for me into the lives and characters of the Grey girls. I knew of Jane before I started research but I knew next to nothing about her sisters and it was a lucky guess that there was more behind the sentimental portrait of Jane that took me to the stories of the three of them. I struggled for a title until I had finished the book and then I chose this ambiguous one. Mary is the last Tudor of the Brandon branch – a fascinating and unknown character to end such a famous line – but Elizabeth is the last ruling Tudor, the throne inherited by a Stuart. She could have named Katherine as an heir and put a Tudor/Seymour boy on the throne of England and broken the jinx on Tudor male heirs. But her rivalry and paranoia was too much for her. The stories of the Grey girls show the enterprise and courage of young Elizabethan women who defied two queens, to make their own lives. Jane chose death rather than deny her faith, and her sisters conspired against the throne, pursuing their own loves and ambitions and risking their sister’s fate: execution for treason. This is the darkest portrait I have ever seen of Elizabeth – I have responded only to the facts of her treatment of her cousins, who as kinswomen and heirs should have been under her protection but found themselves at the centre of her fears.