En garde! Political intrigue, duels, budding romance, a dungeon, troubadours and a thirst for revenge are jammed into this story set in 1640. Armand, who likes to read Corneille, settles in Paris, apparently a member of the Theatre du Marais but actually intent on avenging his father's murder and involved in a plot to murder Cardinal Richelieu. Imprisoned in a tower when the attempt miscarries, he has to leave behind Cyrano de Bergerac and friend poquelin (i.e. Moliere), but he can have visitors including cousin Madeleine who finds out that they're not really cousins. Escaping, he returns to Paris with a commedia dell'arte troupe, builds up his strength and challenges his father's murderer. But he refrains from dealing the death blow and ultimately comes in for praise from the king and restitution of his title (""I am not called 'Louis the Just"" for nothing""). Half-baked history, hot-shot fiction.