Set on the Isle of Slingers, this novel follows the exploits of Jocelyn Pierston, a sculptor who falls in love successively with three generations of island women, seeking female perfection, just as he strives to realise the ideal woman in stone.
France eagerly awaits the day the young king, Louis XV, comes of age and breaks free from the rule of his ministers. The country hopes Louis will bring back glory and prosperity to France. However, he is too preoccupied with the thrills of hunting and gambling to notice the power struggle going on in his own court. Soon the king is introduced to the pleasures of mistresses, and a succession of lovers follows.