Ahhh, Sir Thomas; bright, quick-witted, tall, dark and handsome. Such a strong character that, in 1540, he’s at the top of his career tree, in the prime of his life. Appointed as ‘Director of the Office of State Security for England and Wales’ by Thomas Cromwell, he is responsible for the safety of the Crown and country, and he was knighted by King Henry VIII for his services. The only tragic episode in his life has been the loss of his wife and only son to the “Sweating Sickness”, known today as a fatal strain of the Hanta virus.
However, another deadly cloud is fast approaching…
“For the first time in his life, Thomas Hatherleigh knew he had run out of options. He’d done nothing personally to hurt or insult King Henry, but he reported directly to Thomas Cromwell, and after years with a star firmly in the ascendant, Cromwell’s personal star had now fallen into a dung heap.
Thomas knew that he could save his own skin by denouncing his erstwhile boss and joining some other faction, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that; he couldn’t just turn his coat and tell lies about his boss. He also wondered who’d be crazy enough to employ someone who was happy to stab his boss in the back. His loyalty would inevitably cost him his life, but somehow, it seemed a lesser evil than to live as a liar and a betrayer.
Gloomily, Thomas sat down at the desk in his spacious, impressive study. His beautiful home, located in the prestigious Austin Friars Square, had suddenly lost its appeal. He fingered the expensive French clock he had recently acquired. It was the latest, cutting-edge model, even sporting a detachable alarm. Now, however, it merely reminded him of time slipping away, his life and achievements all seeming totally pointless.
‘So be it’, he whispered to himself, staring at the wall, enduring another sleepless night. There was nothing else he could do. He set about writing a letter to his sister, to tell her how much he loved her and his nephew Robert, and acknowledging his fondness for her husband, Steven. So blinded by tears that he couldn’t even put quill to paper, Sir Thomas felt that his lungs were about to burst. He was so absorbed that he barely noticed the unaccountable breeze that sprang up from nowhere…”