Born in East Budleigh and executed in Old Palace Yard Westminster 400 years ago this year, Sir Walter Ralegh’s life was romantic, irresistible and of central importance to our island story. His death is a convoluted and contested tale of bargaining, failure and betrayal. From Ralegh’s famous adventures to the final act, Oxford University Fellow Anna Beer presents his stranger-thanfiction life in all its richness. How did a man once the Queen’s favourite find himself consigned to the Tower by her successor? Should his legacy be fame or infamy? And why is Ralegh the correct spelling? Called both a ‘groupie’ (on Woman’s Hour) and his fiercest critic (The Guardian), she proudly claims to be both.