Renard, heir to Ravenstow, is a crusader in Antioch, a place far removed from the cold Welsh Marches of his birth. Summoned home to his ailing father, Renard brings Olwen with him, an exotic dancing girl whose sensuous beauty and wild ways have ensnared him. Yet, in a political match made by their families, Renard is already betrothed to the innocent Elene and he knows he is also returning to the duty of marriage.
Torn between Olwen and Elene, Renard's personal dilemma is set against a background of increasing civil strife as Ranulf of Chester, his greedy neighbour, strives to snatch his lands. When Renard is taken prisoner at the Battle of Lincoln, his fate is placed in the hands of the two women - his former mistress, now in the bed of his deadliest enemy, and his determined yet inexperienced wife, protecting his lands against terrible odds . . .
In this nicely crafted historical romance, a follow-up to The Wild Hunt and The Running Vixen , Chadwick continues her tale of Ravenstow, a medieval Welsh estate. Renard, the well-meaning and dashing, but often restless, heir to the realm, returns from the Crusader kingdom of Antioch with a mistress, the beautiful, crafty dancing girl Olwen. Renard has come home to deal with his father's impending death and local tensions caused by the dispute over the succession to England's throne, both of which mandate the immediate celebration of his arranged marriage to the heiress of a neighboring estate. He is soon embroiled in a fierce rivalry with temperamental, power-hungry Ranulf de Gernons, Earl of Chester, who will do anything to get Renard's land, including raiding, pillaging and even kidnapping his enemy's bride. Though preoccupied with political battles, Renard is pleasantly surprised by his new wife and soon disenchanted with the malevolent Olwen, whose scheming poses grave danger to his estate and his marriage. As before, realistic characters and finely drawn details of 12th-century life distinguish Chadwick's work. ( May )
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This was the last of the books written by Elizabeth Chadwick that I needed to read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to other readers of her work. However, it wasn't anywhere near as good as Lords of the White Tower or her books on the Marshall and Bigod families.