Napoleon's shadow hangs heavy over Europe, and all is not well in the tiny principality of Lissenberg. Martha, its new princess, discovers just how bad things are in a moment of terror among the summer vineyard. But where can she turn for help? Her husband is in Napoleon's clutches, and her friend Cristabel, the prima donna, is involved in a disastrous marriage. Old enemies reappear, as well as old friends, and soon Martha's marriage is threatened along with her crown. Winter is coming and snow will soon close the frontiers. When Napoleon himself irrupts into Lissenberg the future looks black indeed.
Jane Aiken Hodge was born in Massachusetts to Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Conrad Aiken, and his first wife, writer Jessie McDonald. Hodge was 3 years old when her family moved to Great Britain, settling in Rye, East Sussex, where her younger sister, Joan, who would become a novelist and a children's writer, was born.
From 1935, Jane Hodge read English at Somerville College, Oxford University, and in 1938 she took a second degree in English at Radcliffe College. She was a civil servant, and also worked for Time Magazine, before returning to the UK in 1947. Her works of fiction include historical novels and contemporary detective novels. In 1972 she renounced her United States citizenship and became a British subject.