England, 1397. Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, is in a quandary. For a rumour have come to his ears that the Duke of Gloucester, whom in accordance with the King’s orders he arranged to be put to death in Calais Castle, is alive and well and stirring up trouble on the Continent. He therefore needs the assistance of a first-class secret agent to make unobtrusive enquiry and take appropriate action.
Instead Mowbray is obliged to instruct Ancient Pistol, a boastful, cowardly, lecherous drunk. Ranged against him are a multitude of international conspirators whose cunning and villainy defy description. His friends, including the dissolute Ned Poins and temperamentally unstable Doll Tearsheet, are almost as useless as our hero himself. Indeed his most loyal and useful ally is a mongrel dog known as Master Sakkers!
But one essential quality Pistol possesses, sufficient to outweigh all his shortcomings. Namely, the most outrageous luck. Aided by this he endures not only his usual fate of being caught in numerous lecherous escapades, but survives a couple of attempts on his life, and even an appearance on the scaffold. Over-confident and lacking in insight as ever, once more Pistol blunders his way to victory, and succeeds where many a better man would have failed.