This third volume in The Lymond Chronicles, the highly renowned series of historical novels takes place in 1551, when Francis Crawford of Lymond is dispatched to embattled Malta, to assist the Knights of Hospitallers in defending the island against the Turks. But shortly the swordsman and scholar discovers that the greatest threat to the Knights lies within their own ranks, where various factions vie secretly for master.
This is a set up novel it is beautifully contained and executed. Perhaps it was not noticed that the climax of the novel was not the end battle but the decision of Richard to believe and support Lymond despite incomplete proof of his statements. An act of faith.