Like a pagan god, Rolfe the Relentless rode into Castle Aelfgar to claim it as his prize--and Lady Alice as his bride. Lauded for his bravery in France, in England he was the hated enemy. Once ensconced in his new domain, Rolfe became determined to tame the Saxon beauty Ceidre, Alice's illegitimate sister, whose spirit and sensuality make him risk treason to have her--not Lady Alice--in his bed...
Mysterious and seductive, she was no lady but a spy for the rebel cause of her noble half brothers. Refusing to bow to this arrogant warrior who ignited her forbidden passion, Ceidre was swept into a dangerous liaison tied to the fate of England and kings. Yet with his kisses on her lips, his skillful hands on her body, she would have to struggle not to surrender to... The Conqueror.
Jealousy, lust, violence and political intrigue make for surprisingly uninspired fare in Joyce's romance set in England in 1069. Rolfe of Warenne, one of William the Conqueror's valued soldiers, has been sent to suppress Saxon uprisings in the north and capture Edwin and Morcar, brothers fomenting rebellion in that area. Part of William's payment to Rolfe includes the brothers' former stronghold, Aelfgar, as a home, and their sister, Lady Alice, for a wife. Although duty compels Rolfe to marry Alice, he is captivated by a younger, illegitimatep. 51 sister, Ceidre, a bewitching, fiery woman loyal to the Saxon cause. Consumed with jealousy, Alice searches for the means to destroy her sister even as Ceidre, at the request of her rebel brothers, commences a dangerous game: luring Rolfe to her bed to gain his confidence and learn details of local Norman strategy. Although Joyce ( The Darkest Heart ) uses a few historical facts and characters as a starting point, she displays minimal knowledge of daily life in 11th-century Britain and a decided preference for cloying melodrama over political maneuvers.