Marlowe all but choked on his wine. "You're pulling my one-eyed Jack," he said. "I've spied for Walsingham for years. I'm one of his most useful operatives."
"Were." Jasfoup smiled. "You were one of his most useful operatives. Unfortunately, your little bit of trouble in Holland made you an embarrassment to Her Majesty. Your counterfeit coins led the Catholics to suspect a plot against them. It was all the Queen could do to avoid France and Spain declaring war on the spot. "
"That wasn't my fault." Marlowe took another swig of the wine. "It was that idiot Frizer, always second guessing my moves. If he'd followed orders and left the tin where it was I'd never have been caught."
"Be that as it may, " said Jasfoup, "I have it on good authority your name appears on an execution list. Not openly, of course. Her Majesty cannot be seen to condone the death of her favourite playwright. No, it will come as a surprise – a knife in a dark alley or a fire at the theatre."
Marlowe shook his head. "You have to help me get out of this," he said. "There must be someone I can appeal to? Somewhere to hide?"
"Fortunately, I have a plan," said Jasfoup. "Remember those plays I commissioned from?"
"The tragedies?" Marlowe grimaced. "Of course I remember. Dreary things they were. What about them?"
"How would you like to take the name Eddie Shakespeare?"
Marlowe sniffed. "I've always seen myself as a William..."