For a first novel, this book is wonderful. Of course, anything forty years in the making should be wonderful. It has a flowing love story with side flirtations, but total loyalty up to the chivalrous standards and ideals associated with the high middle ages rather than Saxon England when this story is set. The supporting characters, especially Rory and Shannon the bards, are as well fleshed out as the protagonists and antagonists, and perhaps even more lovable. You do not want to miss lovable little Godgifu who is only two as she saves the king at his lowest point. This is not another from here to there and back again book, although much of the tale is about how Queen Josephine and King Lawrence follow entwining but separate paths back to their children and each other when the vile usurper holds the children hostage during a total war for two kingdoms. Will either of them get there in time to save the family and each other? You will enjoy reading to the end to find out.