With his customary wit, humor, and irony, along with a fine sense of the period, Louis Auchincloss artfully brings to life an exciting and dramatic facet of eighteenth-century England. On the Continent, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, is laying waste to the lowlands in a bloody combat with Louis XIV At the British court, Queen Anne, aging, ill, and surrounded by sycophants, is coping with the intrigues of those who wish to promote Marlborough's dangerous ambitions. Chief among the plotters is his headstrong wife (and court favorite), Sarah Churchill.
Into this tense and steamy environment comes young Abigail Hill, Sarah's impoverished cousin. Sarah has arranged for her to be a maid to the Queen. But Abigail will discover that she has been marked by destiny for a special mission, which is nothing less than to bring to a halt a bloody and destructive world war. How she accomplishes this is the subject of this unusual but historically justified tale.
The drama of court life and high politics, the growing antagonism between Sarah and Abigail, and an engaging cast of characters make for a lively narrative. And the portrait of Queen Anne is a tour de force that lends further depth to this vivid and engaging book.