Whether he is nurturing a single rare seedling into a blossoming tree or planning acres of exquisitely conceived royal gardens, John Tradescant's fame and skill as a gardener are unsurpassed in seventeenth-century England. But it is Tradescant's clear-sighted honesty and loyalty that make him an invaluable servant, and in his role as informal confidant during garden strolls with Sir Robert Cecil, adviser to King James I, he witnesses the making of history, from the Gunpowder Plot to the accession of King Charles I and the growing animosity between Parliament and court.
Tradescant's talents soon come to the attention of the most powerful man in the country, the irresistible Duke of Buckingham, the lover of King Charles I. Tradescant has always been faithful to his masters, but Buckingham is unlike any he has ever known: flamboyant, outrageously charming, and utterly reckless. Every certainty upon which Tradescant has based his life -- his love of his wife and children, his passion for his work, his loyalty to his country -- is shattered as he follows Buckingham to court, to war, and to the forbidden territories of human love.
From the details of garden design and innovation to the politics of a growing revolution which was to kill a king and turn a world upside down, Philippa Gregory once again makes history come alive through the people whose passions shaped that world.