Costain is a masterhand in multitude of colorful, often dramatic detail, costuming, period facts, amplifications of historical and political issues that go to make up the substance-if not the sum- of his period novels. This is the story of the career of the furrier of Bourges, financial power behind Charles VII of France,- Jacques Coeur. Agnes Sorel, the king's mistress, was dying; the orphan Valerie Maret was being trained for the next lady. But Valerie and young d'Arlay had other ideas -- and when ""Moneyman"" as Jacques Coeur was called, learned her true identity he made a switch in plans and he attempted to aid the young people in flight. Against the romance and adventure is the embroidery of the tradition of Joan of Arc, war with England, the end of the chivalric age, intricate Court connivings, and the pulse of the people of France.