Restored to his titles, Simon is living contentedly as England's ambassador in Paris when Edward commits an atrocity. Against orders, the earl returns to save the prince and his friends from Llewellyn.
In England again, Simon becomes entangled in the barons' revolt against King Henry's misrule. Rescuing the Provisions of Oxford which, on fragile wax tablets, set forth a program for elective government, he makes the new system the law of the land, establishing modern democracy.
"Ashe's detailing... is not only a forensic paean to foppery but a schadenfreuden build-up to a bonfire of the vanities... An expertly told tale in which the star role is played by democracy, a poisoned chalice to be won only at the cost of treason." Kirkus.