Having been raised in a convent this young naive girl ventures out into the world to “find” her mother. She knows that she is dead, but wants to feel close to her.
On a dangerous outing to the sea, right after a battle, she finds herself at the mercy of a young man, Meilyr. The man she assumes is a wandering minstrel, but he is in fact the son of her mothers first love come to take revenge on her for his father’s slight. His act of revenge ends with him falling in love with her and fallowing her around the country side for four years.
This story about the wars of men in the middle ages, puts ancient religion against Christianity and shows us the pettiness of war.
Her brother, Alchfrid, is married to the daughter of Penda and she thinks that it would be great to marry this girl’s brother, Peada. Never knowing that he is her actual half brother, she makes him marry her in secret. When her “father”, Oswy, finds out he is furious for he is the only one who knows the truth about his mating. She tries to forbid her then finds out that they have already had sex. So the marriage goes on in the public eye. But this husband is not what she envisioned. He is cruel and cannot hope to be half the man that his father was.
After the woman who wants to marry Peada poisons her so that she loses her baby, her husband labels her a witch. He wants to kill her and plans on it after his father has defeated her “father”. But Penda figures out that he is her real father as well and goes into a rage over it and starts the attack in the winter in stead of in the spring when the weather or better for marching over land. He offers sacrifices to his Gods in the means of drowning a pregnant woman. This sacrifice disturbs many of his ally nations and they flee before his war-host has meet with the other.
Finally, Penda is killed and Peada is made to swear fidelity to Oswy. He is in such a state when he gets home to his wife that he beats her to unconsciousness. Her maid finds her and tells her of the plot Peada’s people are planning to kill him and her. So Alchflead leaves and goes to the place her brother was last told to be. She however does not meet with her brother but finds Oswy instead. She finally confesses to her that Penda was her real father. She is in such a state that she leave the palace and goes out into the world to die. This is were Meilyr finds her and brings her back to the living.
Alchflead insist on warning Peada of the death threat, but just as they arrive in the royal city they see some one kill Peada before their eyes. They have to struggle for their lives to get out of the city and out of this country before someone recognizes her. Just when they were about to give up they come to a great city that she had seen in a vision and they know that they have come home.
And that was the end of the story. I would have liked a little more detail about their lives after, but that is how these books seem to be. Full of detail along the way, but in the end they just end.
As always, I appreciate your comments or book recommendations. ~Dianna