The Netherlands, the 1640s. Two royal exiles meet - Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James I of England, and Omolojou/Pelagius, once heir to the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo but now a freed slave with shamanic powers. They fall in love and clandestinely marry. Secretly, Elizabeth gives birth to a son, Balthasar Stuart, whom both of them see as a new hope for the future. As ever with Jane Stevenson's work, Astraea appeals to the head as well as the heart. An utterly convincing picture of seventeenth-century life and political intrigue, it is also an immensely moving account of a strange, magical love affair.