The author's choice of a fictional form to tell the story of John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, is in keeping with his previous books which had a historical basis but comes off less successfully in comparison with them or with Rowse's The Early Churchills. John Churchill and his indomitable wife, Sarah, were deeply in love throughout forty six turbulent years. They were ambitious, predatory in their greed, but in spite of their political ups and downs charges of defrauding the Crown were never fully proved. They fell from favor again and again, and Marlborough was responsible for achieving England's position as a world power; petty jealousies and manoeuvers dotted their careers in the courts, successively, of James II, William and Mary, Anne and finally George I. The reader tires following their machinations, tires also of Sarah's relentless enmity against those who opposed her or John. Once an intimate of Anne, Sarah eventually turned against her as well when as queen she attempted to reign in her own right. One can admire Marlborough- even in this portrait- but Sarah emerges as a termagant, graceless, egocentric and unappealing. In opposition with the Rowse book, one feels that here is a prejudiced view of a period in history and a group of self-seekers that had better be left to the hands of the historians.