Dust flies out of this fictional biography of Pitt the Younger as from a preserved periwig, but not, alas, much else. The author has concentrated on William Pitt's earlier career -- especially the friendship, alliance and then conflict with Charles Fox. There is the initial stance against the waning career of Lord North, Pitt's first appearance as Prime Minister (the ridiculed ""Mincepie Administration"") in which Fox led the Opposition, and then the resounding victory at Oxford when Fox's forces were routed. The author has a syntactical, not rhythmic, grasp of period speech and her characters are dim and dull. ""Until I am assured of a man,"" intones Pitt to friends, ""I am apt to cast up all manner of defenses as assiduously as the engineers fortifying Gibraltar."" Cor' what a bore!