For me, this final book in the Lymond series is by far the best. He is forced, for reasons I won't disclose, to spend a year running the army of France against England. The consequences of failure to do so are dire, both personally and for his family, and for Scotland, the land of his birth. Philippa, the young woman he married in Stamboul but has not bedded suffers as much as he does. The French queen has chosen Lymond's second wife, and Philippa is to "train" her to be worthy of him. The hitch is that Lymond's parentage is unknown. It doesn't matter to husband or wife, but bastardy is a social issue in 16th c. France. Philippa suffers from her efforts to learn the answer. The other social issue of importance in this book is the St. Bartholomew Day's Massacre--Protestant v. Catholic wars. I spent considerable of this book in tears, but all comes out right in the end.
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