The historical saga begun in The Lion and the Rose series and continued in The Outlander King reaches its dramatic conclusion in The Conqueror's Bane, as the last chapters of the life of William the Conqueror, and the entwined stories of two remarkable women, finally unfold. In the eleventh century, Aislinn, now a grown woman, lives in comfortable captivity with her children, forever branded by her traitorous past and about to be swept up in the tumultuous politics of the aging Conqueror's uneasy reign. She longs to be reunited with her exiled lover, the dispossessed claimant Edgar the Aetheling, but must walk the delicate line between political loyalty and personal passion, even as she struggles to come to terms with the impact the Normans have had both on the country of England and her own life. She forges new relationships with former enemies, particularly William's wife Queen Matilda, and is ultimately drawn into the orbit of her old home, the kingdom of Scotland, and its own wars for royal succession. But if she is ever to see Edgar again, and if they are ever to find their peace after many troubled and separate years, they must confront the private betrayal that lies at the heart of the Scottish campaign, and Edgar's entire legacy as a king without a crown.
In the twentieth century, at Oxford University, Selma Murray must likewise confront the full reality of her dark past, the scholarly mystery surrounding Aislinn's work through the centuries, her desire to find and tell the real story of this remarkable woman, and her deepening involvement with fellow student Gavin Poole, whose family history is intimately and dangerously entangled with Aislinn's manuscript. The answers to Selma's questions can only come at great cost, and reveal a long-buried letter from World War II that may bring many old secrets to the light at last -- but only if Selma is brave enough to look.
Written with the same meticulous historical research, vivid characters, romance, drama, and emotional resonance as its predecessors, The Conqueror's Bane brings the remarkable tale of William the Bastard full circle from when we first met him as a small boy in the pages of The Lion and the Rose, and sets the stage for the larger-than-life stories of his descendants and the destinies of England and France alike. As before, it investigates our meaning and making of history, our identities and memories, our beliefs about the past and our place in the present, and above all, the enduring power of loss, faith, grief, hope, and love.