In 1688, the birth of a Prince of Wales ignited a family quarrel-and a revolution. James II's drive towards Catholicism had alienated the nation and his two staunchly Protestant daughters by his first marriage, Mary and Anne, the "ungrateful daughters" who eventually usurped their father's crown and stole their half-brother's birthright.
Seven prominent men sent an invitation to William of Orange-James's nephew and son-in-law-to intervene in English affairs. But Mary and Anne also played a key role. Jealous and resentful of her hated stepmother, Anne had written a series of malicious letters to Mary in Holland, implying that the Queen's pregnancy was a hoax-a Catholic plot to deny Mary her rightful inheritance.
Distraught from being betrayed by his own children, James fled the kingdom. And even as the crown descended on her head, Mary knew she had incurred a father's curse. The sisters quarreled to the day of Mary's death at age 32. Anne did nothing to earn her father's forgiveness, and she declared her brother an outlaw with a price on his head.
Acclaimed historian Maureen Waller re-creates the late Stuart era in a compelling narrative that highlights the influence of the royal women on one of the most momentous events in English history. Prompted by religious bigotry and the emotions that beset every family relationship, this palace coup changed the face of the monarchy, and signaled the end of a dynasty.