At the start of the novel, House Montmorency is the oldest and most respected house in France. Although they lack extensive holdings, House Montmorency rules just north of Paris, giving them close ties to the royal House. For Centuries, Montmorency lords served as the Marshall of France, and are often the same age as the French Kings. With the Italian Wars over and the Royal House crumbling, Montmorency’s prestiege has begun to falter. To the South, protestant Lords openly disregard the summons of the marshal. To the East, House Guise is always eager to challenge Montmorency’s dominance of the Capital. In Paris itself, boy kings grow increasingly alienated from their traditional allies.