There is aristocratic Isabella, betrothed to Domingo, though she is in love with his dashing brother Blasco. There is Bianca, a wild gypsy girl who becomes Isabella's maid, but who has a secret affair with Blasco.
When Blasco is sent by King Philip on a secret mission to France, he sees Catholics there slaughter the Protestant Huguenots, which forever changes his opinion of Catholicism. During the uprising, he risks his life to save a Huguenot woman, then brings her to Spain, where she continues to be in danger from the Catholic Inquisitors.
While he is gone, his beloved Bianca and her mistress Isabella are abducted by English pirates, and once in England, the two Catholic women, in a reversal of religious fanaticism, find themselves in a land where Catholics are persecuted by Protestants.
It was a world turned upside down....
with the Queen Mother of France making martyrs out of innocent Hugenots, Philip of Spain spreading fear and torture with his Inquisition, and Queen Elizabeth dispatching spies to every corner of England.
Young girls kidnapped from Spain by buchneers, and what follows in their lives intermixed with historial facts as only Jean Plaidy can do.