In the aftermath of tragedy and scandal, Sabin FitzSimon, illegitimate son of a Norman earl, leaves England for the Holy Land in search of a new beginning. At first it seems impossible as the demons from his past life return to haunt him. There is more scandal and banishment, and Sabin finds his back to the wall. In the heat and dust, magnificence and danger of Northern Syria, he must either face himself, or be vanquished. Annais, daughter of Edmund Strongfist is a quiet, convent-raised young woman when she accompanies her father to their new life in the Holy Land. Her encounters with Sabin FitzSimon leave her bewildered, desirous, and more than a little hostile. Bravely facing up to heartache, an arranged marriage, war and death, she falls deeply in love with the country and its people. But it will take more than love to secure what she holds dear, including Sabin FitzSimon. It will take courage, endurance and raw determination to succeed... Sabin FitzSimon, disgraced son of an earl, is given the opportunity to rebuild his career and salvage his reputation when the knight Edmund Strongfist leaves for the Holy Land to offer his sword and services to the King of Jerusalem. He asks Sabin to join him.
Accompanying Strongfist is his daughter Annais. Sabin, he warns, is to keep away from her. Being grateful for the chance that Strongfist has given him, Sabin does so, but not without a feeling of regret, for he is attracted to Annais's spirit, her courage and her wonderful harp playing.
The Holy Land brings its own shares of trials for Sabin. He succeeds in keeping his distance from Annais, but has less success with Strongfist's new wife, and the consequences hit hard. The land is in a turmoil of constant warfare and following the capture of the King, Sabin is forced by circumstances to take command of the fortress of Montabard and marry its recently widowed chatelaine.