The story is of Gabriel de Vere, the oldest son of a Norman lord who rejected him as his heir to a barony in England because on her deathbed his mother confessed to having had other lovers. Since Gabriel and his younger brother Blase have her dark looks, the father wonders if they are really his. He chooses as his heir the fairer third son. Gabriel leaves, vowing to make it on his own. He succeeds, becoming a powerful knight fighting in the Crusades and gaining the favor of King Richard who gives him a castle and estate in Normandy.
The author captures well the 12th century, balancing the language of the time with a need to be understandable to modern readers. Hence we know clearly what is going on but we know we are back in the time of Richard the Lion Heart. Great attention is given to castle life, preparation for battle, food, dress, customs and the history of the time so that you feel you are living it. But since this is a romance, the love story is central and this is a good one that kept me reading late into the night (always a good sign).