Relaxing in the Bohemian spa of Marienbad after a secret mission on behalf of Kind Edward VII, Ian, Lord Arkely is appalled to overhear the sound of a woman being horribly ill-treated by a man in the adjacent hotel room – that of Prince Friederich of Wilzenstein and Her Royal Highness Princess Mariska. Peering out across the shared balcony he spies the young, slim, utterly beautiful young Princess, clearly in pain.
Lord Arkley is aware that the Prince has been wheelchair bound since being terribly insured in an anarchist bomb attack in which Princess has escaped injury. Clearly the paralysed Prince is taking out his resentment on the poor Princess, Lord Arkley thinks as he resolves to get to know this Princess in distress.
'It is not so much that I am interested,' he tells himself, 'but extremely sorry for anyone so young and so attractive to be tied to such a brute, whatever excuses he may have for his behaviour.'
Nevertheless, he is startled to receive a letter from the Princess inviting him to dinner. And so begins a web of intrigue and terrible danger – and in the shadow of the Princess's oppression and the threat of war, the light of love flickers into life.