Ahead of the German Blitz, the British royal family secretly moves the princesses to the estate of the Duke of Edenmore in Ireland. English secret agent Miss Celia Nashe and Irish detective Garda Strafford are assigned to watch over "Ellen" and "Mary" at Clonmillis Hall. But the household staff and the townspeople—some of whom lost family to English guns during the Irish War of Independence—have their suspicions about their guests' true identities. In this novel by Benjamin Black (a.k.a. Booker Prize winner John Banville), a dangerous boredom sets in for the princesses, and within and without Clonmillis's acreage, passions and stakes are both on the rise.