"The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano came of age in Queen Elizabeth's royal court. The Queen's favorite, she developed a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a young woman known not only for her beauty but also her sharp mind and a quick tongue. When Aemilia becomes the mistress of Lord Hunsdon, she fears her mind will languish--until she crosses paths with an impetuous playwright named William Shakespeare and begins an impassioned but ill-fated affair. A decade later, the Queen is dead, and Aemilia Bassano is now Aemilia Lanyer, fallen from favor and married to a fool. Like the rest of London, she fears the plague. And when her son Henry takes ill, Aemilia will do anything to save him, even if it means seeking help from her estranged lover, Will--or worse, making a pact with the Devil himself. In rich, vivid detail, Sally O'Reilly breathes life into England's first female poet, a mysterious woman nearly forgotten by history. Full of passion and devilish schemes, Dark Aemilia is a tale worthy of the Bard. - For readers of Deborah Harkness, Paula Brackston, and Sarah Dunant" The story of a Venetian musician's daughter, Aemilia Bassano, who a decade after the death of Elizabeth I begs help from her former lover, William Shakespeare, when her son catches the plague.