Remembering his exile and determined not to go "travelling again" Charles II his his secret political game with Louis Quatorze under a cloak of gay immorality. His objects were to keep religious strife and revolution away from his country and the crown on his own head.
Of the women who ministered to his pleasure at this period three were more important to him than others: Nell Gwyn--the orange girl who graduated to actress and King's mistress; Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, sent by Louis into England to act as his spy; and Hortense Mancini, the "most beautiful women in the world" who came to escape a mad husband obsessed by "purity". Each is here vividly recreated--and with them the famous courtiers, Buckingham, Rochester and Charles Sackville, adn the Dukes of York and Monmouth.
But above all the story is dominated by the King--often careless, rarely malicious but forever amorous.