Mary was crowned queen in 1553. In the space of just five years her brutal methods of reimposing the Catholic religion in England earned her the macabre nickname she has carried ever since, " Bloody Mary ". Men such as Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, were burned at the stake, as were some 300 others who chose to suffer an agonizing death rather than renounce their Protestantism and accept Papal supremacy. Jasper Ridley's lucid and expert descriptions capture the fierce brutality of Tudor times - we learn how some of the martyrs suffered more if the faggots were wet or the wind changed direction, so that their agony was prolonged. At other times the victims had a small bag of gunpowder attached to the waist or neck to hasten their end. A vivid and thought-provoking account of an unhappy era.