May 1471. On their way to another battle in the long-drawn-out civil war that will come to be known as the Wars of the Roses, the hopeful Yorkist party, led by their glorious king Edward IV, make a stop in Malmesbury, an ancient country abbey town.MoreMay 1471. On their way to another battle in the long-drawn-out civil war that will come to be known as the Wars of the Roses, the hopeful Yorkist party, led by their glorious king Edward IV, make a stop in Malmesbury, an ancient country abbey town.
Before facing the battle, the men – nobles and commoners alike – take what may be their last opportunity to enjoy wine and women, before the slaughter to come at Tewkesbury.For one Malmesbury girl, those brief two days will change her life forever. Drawn to a handsome young noble she sees swimming in the river, they form a sudden, deep and ultimately tragic attachment to each other, and it is only as he rides away that she discovers the identity of her mysterious lover, and realises how utterly beyond her reach he is.
And it is only after he has gone that she realises he has left her a gift far more lasting and precious than the antique ruby ring he pressed upon her as a token of the love they shared…This is the story of Connie Stone, elder daughter of a respectable town family, whose heart is broken by her first and only love affair, but who fights fearlessly in defence of the lover she cannot name- of her son, whose blood may be noble but whose heart is as impetuous and stubborn as his father’s- and of the two men who come to shape their lives.It is the tale of the desperate courage of a king who fights for the life he never believed he might one day possess, of the dangerous love he owes his bastard son, and the unwavering loyalty of his closest friend and ally, their destinies woven together by the determination of one woman.