Isabella wants to come home - a rather innocuous request - unless you're the king and Isabella is the aunt whose mental instability led her own father to banish her from the kingdom. Her arrival, unbidden, on the steps of the castle opens old wounds and forces Alfred to examine his grandfather's decision.
As diplomacy with former enemies begins to bear fruit, new dangers loom on the horizon. The bellicose Teutons, discord among the nobles in the Kingdom Across the Southern Sea, and Isabella's continuing machinations all conspire to threaten the peace and security of the realm.
Alfred's mettle will be tested as never before. And a startling revelation will lead him first to troublesome doubts and eventually to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a king.