William was dying and Anne, soon to be Queen, was dominated by Sarah Churchill, who believed that she, with her husband Marlborough, could rule the Queen -- and England too.
Sarah was flamboyant, frank, impetuous and determined to have her way; her beauty and vitality had enslaved Marlborough and the Queen, and she believed herself to be invincible -- as she was until she introduced the plain and meek Abigail Hill into the royal bedchamber as a humble chambermaid. These two women were the Queen's favorites and between them they had a great influence on the rise and the fall of governments.
The scene is set at the beginning of the eighteenth century, one of the most brilliant in English history when, at home, men of literary stature -- Swift, Defoe, Addison, Steel, Congreve -- frequented the coffee houses and taverns and sold their talents to Whig and Tory; and, abroad, Marlborough was winning the Battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.
The important question of the day was the Succession. The Queen was childless; she was the victim of gout, dropsy and her conscience; and while some looked to St. Germain and the Old Pretender, others turned to Hanover.
Intrigue flourished and the conflict circled round the favorites: Sarah, battering her way through life, quarreling with everyone, including her own family, rushing into disaster; and Abigail, working in the shadows, secretly admitting Robert Harley to the Queen's intimate green closet, frustrated by the emotions aroused by the man to whom she first brought power and then helped to ruin. And shining through the dark intrigue is the love of Marlborough for Sarah, and hers for him -- bold, passionate and indestructible.