July 1193. King Richard Lionheart lies in a German prison, held for ransom by the emperor. His mother, Dowager Queen Eleanor, ransacks England for gold to buy his freedom, while his younger brother, John, plots with King Philippe of France to ensure that he rots and dies in chains.
When a ransom payment vanishes, Eleanor hastily dispatches young Justin de Quincy to investigate. In wild, beautiful Wales, his devotion to the queen will be supremely tested as an arrogant border earl, a cocky Welsh prince, an enchanting lady, and a traitor of the deepest dye welcome him with false smiles and deadly conspiracies. The queen's treasure is nowhere to be found, but assassins are everywhere . . . and blood runs red in the dragon's lair.
“Once you enter Penman’s world, you’re hooked.”
“Penman writes about the medieval world and its people with vigor, compassion, and clarity.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“Welcome to twelfth-century English and Welsh politics by way of this riveting and rich mystery novel.”
“A polished and absorbing historical mystery."