Soldier and secret agent during the latter part of the Napoleonic wars; handsome, charming and lover of many women, but saddled with a wife he neither loved nor wanted. Nicholas de Bresancourt, Duc de Valenciennes, was a complex man of many talents, but also a tormented one. Memories of his harrowing experiences as a small boy in France before he escaped from the Revolution continued to haunt him and have coloured his whole life.
Still saddled with a wife he despises for her treachery, but besotted with the little daughter he discovers he has fathered, and now a rich man due to his unexpected inheritance, Nicky has returned to France to try and reclaim his long lost family estates and restore his former, but now ruined family home in Valenciennes. The French monarchy has been restored, Bonaparte is in exile in Elba and there seems to be peace at last in Europe.
However, Nicky has suddenly left Valenciennes and disappeared. Lord Ashcroft is at the bottom of it, as the intrepid Bella discovers and, fed up with fretting and fuming in London, she sets off in search of her errant spouse, accompanied by Jack Vallance, a young groom with an unfortunate background but some very useful talents.
From Valenciennes to Paris, and thence down to Nice, while Bonaparte’s supporters secretly plot his return to France, Bella has doggedly tracked her husband. Now aware of what he’s up to and the danger Frederick Bernheim presents to him, her family, and her country, not to mention herself and Jack, Bella inadvertently finds herself caught up in a desperate situation where her life, and Nicky’s, are at stake and there is only Jack to help.