The traditional Scottish sympathy for lost causes and high romance finds a ready outlet in Miss Oliver's latest contribution to popular historical fiction. Covering the period 1480-1513, the book opens in the latter part of Scottish King James III's illstarred reign and ends stormily with the death of his chivalrous and wayward son, James IV, killed in battle against the English at Flodden Moor. There is the life of the court with richly dressed nobles and wily diplomats each pressing his country's claim to support in the power politics of fifteenth-sixteenth century Europe. There are the border skirmishes with the old enemy, England, and the royal progresses of James IV as he fights, hunts, loves and prays his way across his kingdom. Sympathetic portraits emerge of the women who crossed his erratic path: his petulant childbride, Margaret Tudor, sister to Henry VIII, Janet, a passionate passing fancy and Margaret Drummond, his lifelong love whose mysterious death clouded the rest of his life. This is another in the lineage of period portraits, which is accomplished with taste and probity.