Most of the characters in the book were real seventeenth century people, the majority living in Manchester, a town that did not have a Member of Parliament. Charles I was an autocratic king who believed that there was no one above him but God, and so when Parliament asked for a greater say in running the country he refused, leading to disenchantment in many parts of the country, especially in the South-East of Lancashire. When Lord Strange, the son of the 6th Earl of Derby, and the Kings representative for Lancashire, marched into Manchester with his troops to demand the retrieval of his armoury, Richard Perceval a hand-loom weaver from Kirkmanshulme, a hamlet situated between Manchester & Stockport, pulled a Royalist of his horse and was shot. Lord Strange was later to be hung in Bolton for this crime, and when Parliament heard of Richard Percevals death they announced that a Civil War has begun. Jenny Grimshawe, a member of a fictitious family living on the Ancoats Hall Estate of Nicholas Mosley, Lord of the Manor of Manchester, was due to marry Richard Perceval, but on hearing of his killing, avowed to avenge his death. She cross-dressed, joined the Royalist army, was present at the siege of Liverpool, the massacre at Bolton and obtained revenge at the battle of Marston Moor, three miles West of York.