Queen Elizabeth I is dying, James I waiting to accede. But who will thrive, and who will fail, under the new king? Will it be the scholar Francis Bacon, whose brilliant mind is the envy of the court? Or his hated rival Edward Coke, already acclaimed as the greatest lawyer of his generation? This book tells the story of these two founders of our modern world, and their bitter struggle for influence and power. It brings the palaces, parlours, parliaments and royal courts of Elizabethan and Jacobean England to life, giving a peerless view into the lives, thoughts and deeds of its protagonists.