After having read Come Rack! Come Rope! I wanted to get a secular view of the Elizabethan era, as a basis of comparison. Christopher Hibbert is a matter-of-fact writer. He describes Elizabeth in all her wild, glorious and maddening foibles. She was very much monarch while loving the limelight of femme fatale. She was vain; incredibly intelligent—proud of being multilingual; crafty; alternately tyrant/indecisive to suit her purpose; at times fearless yet paranoid all her life concerning death plots. Her religion was England, the throne, and herself (not necessarily in that order). The Protestant/Catholic/Puritan struggles concerned her insofar as they related to her safety, political alliances and proper decorum. In other words, she was practical to an extreme. One could almost imagine her attempting to organize eternity. This book seems to be the basis for the mini-series Elizabeth R which I remember watching many years ago. It was quite good as I recall. Anyway, the book and the series seemed to track.As to my purpose for reading the book, Elizabeth, as a monarch – the methods of punishment she condoned and in some cases even insisted on against the advice of her advisers – were every bit as violent as indicated by Robert Hugh Benson in the book mentioned above. David Case read this audio book and he is one of my husbands and my favorites.