This is the story of Sabin FitzSimon, the illegitimate son of a Norman earl. It begins shortly after the tragedy and scandal of Sabin seducing King Henry's mistress, Lora. He is caught by the King's men and barely escapes with his life. Lora is not so lucky, she is promptly put aboard the Blanche Nef, or White Ship, and drowns with everyone else on board after it strikes rocks and flounders. The heir to the throne, Henry's son, also perished. Sabin feels guilty for her watery fate. Meanwhile, after learning of this, his stepmother, Matilda, Countess of Huntingdon & Northampton and wife to Prince David of Scotland, along with her maidservant, decide that Sabin should try to redeem himself by going to the Holy Land. He is sent with Strongfist, a knight, and his convent raised daughter, Annais. Even though Annais is convent raised she has no true vocation and her father hopes to find her a suitable husband which leaves out Sabin. In fact, Sabin is warned to stay away from her as Strongfist is aware of his reputation with women.
However, from the journey to settling in the Holy Land, Sabin and Annais find their fates entwined in a way they never expected. Their trials and tribulations will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the novel. In this case, love does conquer all, but at what price?
This novel kept me swiftly turning page after page anticipating their next adventure. I have never been disappointed with any of Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels and I have read every one of them except Daughters of the Grail (which I hope to read soon). I couldn't wait for this book to be released in the USA a year later, so I ordered from Amazon in the UK and was once again amazed at Elizabeth Chadwick's storytelling ability.
I hope this review makes it to the novel's title page this time as this is the second time I have submitted it. The first time I tried was June 23, 2003.