It is 1651, just after the Battle of Worcester - the final conflict of the British Civil Wars. With Roundhead troops poised to search his family home, the 11-year-old Matthew discovers the long-forgotten papers of his grandfather: another Matthew, and one of Queen Elizabeth's greatest seamen. The papers lead him into a very different world: when England was still fighting a seemingly endless naval war against Spain; when William Shakespeare was writing Henry V and Julius Caesar; and when the whole country was obsessed by the question of who would succeed the ageing Queen.
The Rage of Fortune is set against the dramatic backdrop of these real historical events. As well as fighting at sea and on land, Earl Matthew and his beautiful young French wife, are thrust into the heart of the intrigues over the succession to the English throne, one of the most mysterious incidents in the whole of British history, and the schemes of a mysterious and malevolent enemy who threatens to bring down the entire Quinton family.