The Lady of Sherborne Castle, Alyce Rose, is struggling to delay her marriage to Baron Dunstan, commanded by Prince John. Her father convinced her no man could be trusted and all suitors would want only to gain her holdings and curtail her freedom. When a contingent of knights arrives, she assumes theyre from the baron and orders the men be fed questionable meat to discourage them from staying.

The group is actually under the leadership of Thomas Brand, Lord of Lyons-bridge, and are secretly gathering ransom for King Richard. Thomas gives his name as Thomas of Havilland and is immediately taken with Alyce,whom he meets when shes disguised as a servant, Rose.

From the beginning, their growing love is hopelessly tangled in common enmity toward Dunstan and in the intrigues between the royal brothers. Alyce fights her situation with imagination, but sometimes without enough thought and Thomas learns the hard way that a fiercely independent ladys love and trust arent won by charging into the battle. (Jul., 352 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger