Morrow, Jan 2005, 25.95
In 1198 Wales is a chaotic country divided into four separate principalities with neighbors coveting and quarreling. One of the rulers, Maelgwyn “Noble” ap Cadwallon struggles to keep his crown with the English and his Welsh peers assuming he is too young, inexperienced and an easy mark. The Norman killed Noble's father in one attack; the lad survived due to the fast thinking of a lowlife friend named Gwirion.
To bolster his hold on his kingdom, Noble weds Isabel, the enemy's daughter. However Isabel detests wedding this loser who has befriended Gwirion the royal Fool. While Noble is at war, his castle is taken; his wife and the Fool are incarcerated. To their mutual horror they begin to fall in love. When Noble returns and regains all he almost lost, he believes that his spouse and his loyal friend cuckolded him; even if they did not everyone thinks they did and image is everything to a leader.
Readers will initially dislike Isabel because she acts nasty towards the witty courageous Fool and does not hide her contempt for her likable husband. However, as the tale plays out, fans will empathize with Isabel as the realization is she is a pawn of pork politics.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner