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t's a time of upheaval in England and no less so than in Knightbridge. King Edward II has been defeated in battle by his wife Queen Isabella and she crowns their son who becomes King Edward III. With the Queen's authority Sir Roland returns to Kingsbridge as the new Earl of Shiring, arresting the current Earl for treason. Roland agrees to spare the lives of his two sons, with Ralph becoming his squire while Merthin is apprenticed to Elfric Builder. He also arrests Edmund Wooler but the condemned man's daughter Caris and his sister Petranilla buy his freedom. Caris takes an interest in medicine and learns from Mattie Wise, the barber's daughter. A wounded Knight, Sir Thomas Langley, makes his way to Kingsbridge priory in the hope of becoming a monk. He carries a great secret.

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