'Not to every young girl is it given to enter the harem of the Sultan of Turkey and return to her homeland a virgin . . .'
Sixteen-year-old Philippa Somerville has left Constantinople intact. Returning to England as wife in name only to Francis Crawford of Lymond, she wastes no time in seeking the truth about her new spouse, even as she finds herself navigating the paranoid court of Queen Mary.
Lymond, meanwhile, arrives in Moscow to assist its young Tsar Ivan to create a fledgling Russian army. But when he is tasked to visit London as Ivan's envoy his path is bound to cross that of the wife he has sworn to divorce.
Yet neither Lymond nor Philippa, caught up in their own scheming, can quite see the vast conspiracy enshrouding them . . .
'Lashings of excitement, colour and subtlety' The Times