John Churchill is an able soldier who has proved himself on many occasions and is a favorite of Kings on both sides of the English Channel. He quickly became a senior officer, based on his skill and not his aristocratic background. He was also a ladies man having affairs with several aristocratic ladies including King Charles II's mistress, the Duchess of Cleveland. At a ball he first meets Sarah Jennings, a pretty young girl who has the good fortune of having the support of Mary, the second Duchess of York. He's immediately taken with her but she doesn't reciprocate. She does however show a spirit that Churchill much admires.