Trease is a master of the historical adventure and here scores another victory. Set in the early days of the French Revolution, this is a tempestuous tale, tragic yet marvelous. The events are experienced through 17-year old Pierre, a peasant boy befriended by an aristocrat who has recognized his artistic talent. Through her he enters a world only glimpsed from outside, where he learns that class is not the sole basis for judging humanity. Madame de Vairmont, his patronness, is deeply concerned in eliminating the outrages levelled against the common people. A wealthy Marquis, on the other hand, cares nothing for people ""below him"". Trease tells his story against historical events shaded by the author's perceptive appreciation of real nobility, regardless of ""breed"", and by his handling of historical figures in human terms, not sensationalized. But for his growing and loyal following, Trease's chief characteristic lies in his being a master of suspense. Here credibility and understanding are brought to a period in history too often treated in documentary vein. First rate tale, authentic and sound.