The prologue begins with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and its immediate aftermath. Alaric, the bastard Count of Anlou, has served William since he was 12 and victory is theirs that day. Fallon, the beautiful Saxon princess, daughter of King Harold Godwinson, sees her father and uncles killed and her betrothed lost to her, when her country is ravaged by the dreaded Normans. Alaric, who takes her from the battlefield where she is wielding a sword with the best of the Saxon warriors, claims her innocence and her honor making her his whore. She has lost everything and, trust me, Graham (aka Shannon Drake) makes you feel the loss and the pain. But Fallon and Alaric have a long history, going back to her childhood when he was a young Norman knight. Even then she hated Normans.
After the prologue, the story takes us back in time to the original conception of William and first meeting with Alaric. Alaric becomes William's champion and a valiant warrior and commander of William's knights as they capture Normandy and then cast their eyes toward England. Alaric is in and out of Fallon's life as she grows up and each time they meet it is a tempestuous encounter. She is proud and willful and fiercely loyal to her father, her people and England, and Alaric is a Norman bastard who will not give an inch, though he is known by all to be an honorable knight. But England will be conquered and the Saxons will be subdued. Alaric is bitter toward women since he was betrayed by his wife. So, while he desires Fallon, he will not love her and he wants no wife again. Fallon hates Alaric for all he has taken from her. Now she is his prisoner and his woman whether she likes it or not, but she will never stop fighting. Escape becomes her passion. Though Alaric doesn't love her, he has claimed her and he will not let her go.
It's another excellent historical tale by Heather Graham (pen name here Shannon Drake) with history woven in so well you do not feel you are getting a history lesson but you will come away with a clear feeling for what England experienced at the hands of the Conqueror. The characters are rich and well developed, the sexual tension very high (nearly constant ) and the action is fast moving. I highly recommend it; it’s on my keeper shelf.