Fortune's Hand

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 It can be withdrawn on a whim as easily as it is granted and earns him as much trouble as it does profit.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. 

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.

Read an extract: Oakfast

Click here for more on the research behind Fortune’s Hand.

What the critics say

An extraordinary excursion into the past by a master storyteller. I have never read a book quite like it, nor admired a book so much.”

Michael Gregorio, author of Critique of Criminal Reason

“In impressively muscular prose strongly reminiscent of Hilary Mantel, R N Morris packs the entire life of Sir Walter Raleigh into one breath-taking volume. This stunning tale grips from the first line to the last, brims with dazzling images, vivid characters, electric dialogue and unforgettable action.”

Peter Tonkin, author of A Verse To Murder

“This spell-binding story of Elizabeth I’s infamous favourite brings the adventurous, dangerous, and glittering world of late-Elizabethan England to life.” 

Steven Veerapen, author of A Dangerous Trade

“[A]stonishingly vivid… one of the finest historical novels I have read in many years.”

Tim Stretton, Vine Voice reviewer and author of The Dog of the North

“This is an extraordinary novel… Above all, it is a novel that explores what it is to be a historical novel. It is unlike any other historical novel of the period, and its skilful research and execution are much to be admired.” 

Deborah Swift, author of Pleasing Mr Pepys

“The Raleigh of Fortune’s Hand is a seasick sailor, a sentimental war criminal, and a courtier of trouble as much as royalty. In this vivid, fast-moving account R. N. Morris captures the contradictions of the age in visceral descriptions and soaring flights of fancy – and all meticulously researched.”

Lawrence Norfolk 

“R. N. Morris captures the combination of poetic sensibility and violent brutality that characterised Elizabeth’s reign: the lavish court culture, the theatres next to the bear pits, the poets praising the subjugation of foreigners.” 

Maria McCann, author of Ace, King, Knave