A DRAMATIC SUMMER The story is told within the dramatic events of spring to autumn in a single year, 1471, in a period when kings went into battle personally. Edward IV had deposed an imbecile Henry VI in 1461 and is himself driven from England in 1470 when the earl of Warwick, known as the Kingmaker, places Henry VI back on the throne as a puppet ruler. Edward returns and lands at Ravenser, a port on the Humber now lost to the sea. However, those who had driven him from England are not disposed to let him return. Several powerful armies, each larger than Edward’s and united only in their desire to destroy him, oppose his tiny force. Aided only by his younger brother, the eighteen year-old Richard, duke of Gloucester and a few retainers and mercenaries, Edward will have to defeat them all, and depose again king Henry VI to regain the crown he has lost. Laurence de la Halle, a young Breton armourer has been sent by duke Francis II of Brittany to join Edward’s army with the intention by his trade of getting close to the noble houses of England. Brittany is under threat of invasion by France and duke Francis needs the support of an English army, whoever becomes king, if he is to discourage the ambitions of king Louis. Though desperate to keep himself clear of battle, Laurence becomes reluctantly embroiled in the central conflict between the houses of York and Lancaster. Then he becomes enmeshed in the secret world of a London apothecary, who is also a spymaster, and becomes inescapably involved in more ways than one.