The Fifth Queen is a historical novel. It tells the story of Katharine Howard's arrival at the Court of Henry VIII, her eventual marriage to the king, and her death. Katharine Howard is presented in the first book as a genuine Roman Catholic, penniless, young noblewoman escorted by her fiery cousin Thomas Culpeper. By accident, she comes to the attention of the king, in a minor way at first, is helped to a position as a lady in waiting for the then bastard Lady Mary, Henry's eldest daughter, by her old Latin tutor Nicholas Udal, a spy for Thomas Cromwell. As Katharine becomes involved with the many scheming, competing, and spying members of Henry VIII's Court, she steadily rises, almost against her will, in Court.