The beautiful Lady Elva Chartham had returned to her family home in the country from her Season as a debutante as she had become disenchanted by the endless balls and empty-headed young suitors. She much preferred to be with her horses. Her father was away fishing and her beloved Aunt Violet came to coax her into returning to London to finish her Season. Elva was persuaded by Aunt Violet and in her London house, she overheard a conversation between her aunt and her cousin, the Duke of Sparkbrook, that would dramatically change her life. Instead of continuing with the hated Season, she is thrust into an exciting undercover mission to St. Petersburg on board the Duke's yacht to gain vital intelligence for the Prime Minister, William Pitt, who is anxious to find out the secret political intentions of the Russian Empress Catherine and her lover, Prince Potemkin. Unexpectedly asked to stay at the Winter Palace, Elva and the Duke are invited to a ball where Elva attracts unwanted attention that puts the Duke's life in considerable danger. How Elva bravely saves the Duke and finds the one real love in her life is all told in this thrilling story by BARBARA CARTLAND. Barbara Cartland was the world's most prolific novelist who wrote an amazing 723 books in her lifetime, of which no less than 644 were romantic novels with worldwide sales of over 1 billion copies and her books were translated into 36 different languages. As well as romantic novels, she wrote historical biographies, 6 autobiographies, theatrical plays and books of advice on life, love, vitamins and cookery. She wrote her first book at the age of 21 and it was called Jigsaw. It became an immediate bestseller and sold 100,000 copies in hardback in England and all over Europe in translation. Between the ages of 77 and 97 she increased her output and wrote an incredible 400 romances as the demand for her romances was so strong all over the world. She wrote her last book at the age of 97 and it was entitled perhaps prophetically The Way to Heaven. Her books have always been immensely popular in the United States where in 1976 her current books were at numbers 1 & 2 in the B. Dalton bestsellers list, a feat never achieved before or since by any author. Barbara Cartland became a legend in her own lifetime and will be best remembered for her wonderful romantic novels so loved by her millions of readers throughout the world, who have always collected her books to read again and again, especially when they feel miserable or depressed. Her books will always be treasured for their moral message, her pure and innocent heroines, her handsome and dashing heroes, her blissful happy endings and above all for her belief that the power of love is more important than anything else in everyone's life."