It is the beginning of the eighteenth century and William of Orange is dying. Soon Anne is crowned Queen, but court insiders know that the power behind the sovereign is Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. Beautiful, outspoken Sarah controls Anne and believes herself to be invincible, until she installs her poor cousin Abigail Hill in court as royal chambermaid. Plain Abigail seems the least likely rival for Sarah's place in Anne's affections, but Sarah has underestimated her.
While Anne engages in her private battles, the nation is obsessed with another, more public one: succession. Anne is sickly and childless, the last of the Stuart line. The book follows the stories of the three women and the ever changing power struggle that dominates their relationships with one another.