The Families. Insanely rich and richly insane. With world-spanning business interests, glamour and power, they are monarchs, Mafia and movie stars rolled into one. Since the Borgias and Medicis united in the 17th century the Families have transfixed, transformed and ruled the world. Top British Family the Gleeds are hosting the social event of the year, their annual ball. Venice has been reconstructed in the grounds of their estate and should provide the perfect romantic backdrop for Provender - their disaffected heir upon whom the Family line depends - to finally find a wife. But Provender shows no sign of settling down with any of the social beauties his mother parades before him... and in the moment when love does begin to blossom, Provender is kidnapped by an anti-Familial revolutionary. The future of the Gleeds, and of Europe, depends on the skills of two Anagrammatic Detectives - while Provender's own future depends on the dark eyes and equally dark wit of a girl called Is.