A story set against the background of Europe in revolution, Holland torn by strife between the reigning house of Orange and the independent patriots; France facing the turmoil of the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic; England watching which way to jump. This story is essentially Dutch; its main characters are Hollanders, members of the house of Tavelinck, rich, powerful -- and later dishonored and torn assunder. Dirk, the eldest son, welcomes the dissolution since it frees him for the military life he wants, and this is primarily his story, -- the story of his marriage of convenience, his erratic military career, his romance, his revolutionary career. Plots and counterplots, interplay of character, the social upheaval, all make this significant from the historical angle. It demands fairly close attention on the part of the reader to disentangle the mesh; it demands a sound historical background. A book for anyone liking serious historical fiction.