When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court in 1177 to settle a bitter inheritance dispute with his half-brothers, he encounters Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida is attracted to Roger and sees in him a chance of lasting security beyond the fickle dazzle of her current life. But her decision to marry Roger carries an agonising price.
Roger's importance as a mainstay of the Angevin government puts an increasing strain on their marriage. Ida is deeply unhappy with the life she must live in his absence and grieves for her losses. Against a volatile political background, the gulf between Ida and Roger threatens to widen beyond crossing, especially when so many bridges have already been burned.