The House at Old Vine is the second in a trilogy of novels by Norah Lofts about the inhabitants of a country house in Suffolk from the late fourteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Covering the turbulent years of 1496 to 1680. It follows six generations of the descendants of Martin Reed, who founded the ‘House’ dynasty through his act of rebellion in The Town House, through persecution, war and revolution, from the era of Christopher Columbus to the Restoration of Charles II. Written with Lofts’ customary attention to historical detail, this is series of stories about characters who lived and died for what they believed.
Sir Walter Raleigh was one of the brightest stars in the Elizabethan firmament. Born into relative obscurity in rural Devon, he grew up in company of smugglers and fishermen, listening to stories of voyages to far-flung lands. His lust for adventure was to take him from the bloody battlefields of Europe to the colonies of the New World and on to the dazzling court of Good Queen Bess. He was a naval commander against the Spanish Armada and led two expeditions to South America to search for El Dorado. This is the story of his relationship with the two women who dominated his life: Elizabeth, his queen, and Bess, her lady-in-waiting and his secret wife. It is the story of one of the greatest men in the greatest age in English history.