Alaric the Norman of Ewyas might be William the Conqueror's greatest weapon. A mercenary knight born and raised among the English, his knowledge of the people and countryside-and his ferocity in battle-are invaluable. Distrusted by his peers, he stands alone after the murder of his pro-Saxon family. To bind his feuding allies, William forces Alaric to marry the murderer's niece. Genevieve Elysia de Fontenay, known as Elise, is canny, well-connected, and a wealthy Norman countess in her own right. Unaware of the machinations behind her marriage but knowing her future husband signed the terms in anger, she travels amid the hostile English to Tutbury Castle, where they will wed. While Alaric balances respect for the vanquished people against the triumphal savagery of the victor, and Elise navigates between her husband's spiteful mistress and a volatile king, they both make powerful alliances-and equally powerful enemies.