For Jean Baptiste de la Quintinie, kitchen gardener to Louis XIV, the potager at Versailles proved not only his artist's canvas but the seedbed of his revolutionary sympathies. August 1674. Louis XIV, one of Europe's most powerful sovereigns, celebrates his armies' victory over Holland. In Versailles, the favourite of the royal residences, his kitchen gardener, Jean Baptiste de la Quintinie, labours to make the espaliers and vegetable plots that feed the court nothing less than a work of art. Revered for his skill, and envied for his freedom, this brilliant, unworldly man stands apart from the diplomats, flatterers and self-servers that surround the monarch. But is his understanding of the soil and those who live by it enough to protect him as the Sun King's reign spirals into a regime of fear?