The Honourable Richard Brooke, younger son of the Earl of Grandbrooke becomes a close friend of Prince Ivan of Karlova. The prince however does not use his title, as he is incognito and is known as Ivan Sazon. As is usual in aristocratic families, Richard as the second son is ordained and appointed to a parish in Oxford. Prince Ivan is often at his house and it isn'tt long before he falls in love with Richard’s sister Elizabeth.They marry and are very happy for six years and have one child, whom they christen Tarena. Ivan is called back to Karlova because his father the king has died and he has to take his place. Ivan is expected to save Karlova and its adjacent country Dubnik from the Russians by marrying Princess Catrina of Dubnik. Shortly afterward Elizabeth dies and Tarena goes to live with her Uncle Richard. Then King Ivan dies and Tarena learns that she must go to Karlova, become queen, and marry Prince Igor of Dubnik.