He tells of the flight of Edith Swannescals murdered Harold's true love and handfast wife with Harold's daughter, Gytha. Edith carries the secret of Harold's final burial place and also the arm ring of Wessex, ancient jewel of the kings of England; both urgently sought by William.
The evil, cruel Hugh, servant to Geoffrey, Bishop of Coustance pursues her. His orders from William are to catch her, rack her secrets from her, destroy her by burning and strangle Gytha.
She runs before the genocidal harrowing of the north; she escapes the fall of Ely; she endures the hardships of the Varangian Way seeking safety for herself her daughter and the secrets she carries.