Westminster, 1184-- in the court of King Henry, playful competition is about to turn into something far more serious. Young courtier Fulke FitzWarin would not be an obvious companion for Prince John, but the boy from the Welsh Marches is there as a reward for his family's loyalty to the crown. The FitzWarins are as proud as they are true, and when Fulke is accused by John of cheating during a game of chess, he cannot help but respond. Thus begins a bitter rivalry that will resonate throughout their lives.
The FitzWarins dream of reclaiming their family estate and title, Lords of the White Castle. After this quarrel with Fulke, however, John's vindictiveness leads to Fulke renouncing his allegiance and becoming a rebel outlaw.
In romance, too, Fulke is no closer to fulfilling his heart's desire. A youthful dalliance means nothing compared to his love for the spirited Maude le Vavasour, but marriage in medieval England is more about alliance than about love, and Fulke can only watch helplessly as Maude's father arranges a more suitable match. After all, what can Fulke offer Maude apart from a lifetime on the run....
With all the intrigue and pageantry that bring the twelfth century vividly to life, this award-winning novelist spins us an irresistible tale of a deadly rivalry and an impossible love.