Hugo Kendal and his wife, Margaret, finally receive a royal pardon and are permitted at last to return to their beloved homeland. Most of the family warmly welcome the couple and the news that they are soon to become three.
However, despite the smiles, Hannah Kendal cannot help but dwell on the threat that Hugo might pose to her husband Simon's position as Master of Heron. She is not alone; Luke, the father of Simon, is acutely aware that Hugo, as his elder brother's son, could declare a more legitimate claim.
To complicate matters further, Maria Lessor, a headstrong 12-year-old verging on womanhood, nurtures a secret love for Hugo and seems willing to stop at nothing to claim him as hers.