Are you a Georgette Heyer fan? This is my version of what happened to The Duke of Sale after his marriage to the Lady Harriet Presteigne. I do not pretend to be in Miss Heyer's league but I hope you like my story nonetheless.
A year after their marriage, Harriet is dead. Distraught and unable to cope with his loss he can turn neither to his former mentor, Lord Lionel, who had has a stroke, or to his friend and cousin Gideon who is thrown from his horse and seems unlikely to ever walk again. Some three years later, having been unable to outrun his demons, he finally realises that his protected upbringing has left him wholly unable to cope with the slings and arrows of life's misfortune and he resolves to disappear and strike out on his own. A further three years after that, now a confident man who can manage on his own, he resolves to return. A mere week or so before he sets off for England he stumbles across an English lady in need of rescue with a mysterious past and who possesses a most unfeminine skill with a sword.
In effecting Miss Leighton's rescue, the Duke finds himself pitchforked into the complex politics of post revolutionary France. Never having previously interested himself in domestic politics he would have found himself out of his depth if not for the lady who in addition to her skill with the foils shows an deep understanding of international politics.
Who is this Lady? Why has she never been seen abroad in England? Why is it that the dastardly Monsieur Hainaut seems so determined to despoil her honour? The Duke decides to untangle the mystery and discovers a dark family secret stretching back over two generations. It will take him all his ingenuity and newfound confidence to solve the puzzle.