Ford Madox Ford's novel about the doomed Katharine Howard, fifth queen of Henry VIII, is a neglected masterpiece. Kat Howard intelligent, beautiful, naively outspoken, and passionately idealistic catches the eye of Henry VIII and improbably becomes his fifth wife. A teenager who has grown up far from court, she is wholly unused to the corruption and intrigue that now surround her. It is a time of great upheaval, as unscrupulous courtiers manuever for power while religious fanatics both Protestant and Catholic fight bitterly for their competing beliefs. Soon Katharine is drawn into a perilous showdown with Thomas Cromwell, the much-feared Lord Privy Seal, as her growing influence over the King begins to threaten too many powerful interests.