Who's Who history. Rob Tanner (almost fourteen) is a dedicated Royalist who joins forces with Wal Raleigh (grandson of Sir Walter) and ambushes two Cromwellian sympathizers (after an evening with Shakespeare's actor-grandnephew Hart). Sent by his sympathetic father (who's lost an older son to Roundhead executioners) to an uncle in Chichester, he stumbles into the deposed monarch himself who shares his muscatel and gives the lad a silver brooch. Back in his own town Rob bumps into Cromwell who lets the ""notable malignant"" go free despite an oft-met assistant's record of the boy's opposition. Cromwell also suggests that King and Country may not be synonymous, and it is this idea, as well as his father's shattered arm, that gives the boy second thoughts. In between the umpteen celebrities Rob works as a shoemaker's apprentice, gets to know Marty (f.) and the innkeeper's moronic son (who helps him escape). Primarily, though, it's historical background in the foreground; too much ventured, not enough to sustain.