Henry V had died leaving a nine month old son as King of Enlgand. Before his death he had married Katherine of Valois, daughter of the French King, and according to the peace terms he had made with France, on the death of poor, mad Charles VI, he was to have been crowned King of France.
Ambitious men surrounded the baby King, chief of whom were the child's uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester. Bedford, shrewd, clever, born to be a leader, had idolized his brother, the late King, and sought to hold together all eh ahd won and to keep it for young Henry VI. Gloucester, man of letters though he was, had poor judgment; greedy for wealth an dpower, he was frequently engaged in lost causes and throughout his life kept up a feud with his uncle the powerful Cardinal Beaufort.
There were three women living in this time who were to have a marked effect on the future.
One of these was Katherine de Valois who, haunted by memories of an unhappy childhood overshadowed by a mad father anda rapacious and lascivious mother, discovered romantic happines in an unexpected quarter and founded the Tudor dynasty.
Then in complete contrast there was the peasant girl from domremy. When Joan of Arc tending her father's flocks heard heavenly Voices commanding her to lead France to victory, she thorught she was dreaming. But eventually convinced that she must obey her Voices was caught up in one of the most amazing experiences ever recorded which took her from the pastures of her village to fiery martyrdom in the square of Rouen.
Eleanor of Gloucester's affairs were less spectacular but she, too, wielded a certain power. First the Duke's mistress she plotted to become his Duchess and her influence was ocnsiderable until she became involved in a plot to murder and was the centre of a cause celebre.
Against a background of Lancatrian England and war-torn France, with ambitious men juggling for power, with feuds between Beaufort and Gloucester and the Duke of Burgundy and King Charles of France, the picture slowly changes. The defeated became the victorious in those turbulent times when murder, greed and ruthless amittion flourished side by side with courage, dedication and martyrdom.