The first book in a trilogy retelling the tale of Isolde and Tristan, this is the story of how they come to meet and fall in love.
When the champions of two courts fight to prevent a war, one kills the other but in the process is stabbed by a poisoned knife. The only known antidote is to be found in the homeland of the defeated knight so the wounded man is disguised by his comrades and sent there to be healed.
He is nursed back to health by the crown princess and by the time he is well again they have developed feelings for each other.
It is then they discover that in a bid for peace her mother has arrange for her marriage to his uncle the king and it is his duty to escort her to him.
Seeing her daughter’s distress at the news and mistaking its cause her mother brews a love potion that will bind the newly weds in an undying love. But the potion is accidentally drunk by the princess and the champion and the two become lovers.
They try to do their duty. She marries as she was promised and he travels from tournament to tournament seeking honour and glory but their love can not be denied and the book ends with the two of them running away together into the night.
This female-centric version of the legend of Tristan and Isolde is a refreshing take on an old tale. The conflict between duty and desire is sharply outlined. The characters are complex creatures of their times. The plot, though familiar, is presented with freshness and just a hint of magic.
The only quibble I had, and it is a very small one, was that I felt the slow pace detracted from the emotional intensity of the story. But that is, as I said, a very small quibble.
I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy-Lynn