Normandy 1067---William may have conquered England, but it is a conquest of a different kind that one English earl has in mind.
Fresh from his defeat of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, William of Normandy has returned home in triumph, accompanied by the English nobles he cannot trust to leave behind. For Waltheof of Huntington, however, rebellion is not at the forefront of his thoughts. From the moment he catches sight of Judith, daughter of the King’s formidable sister, he knows he has found his future wife.
When Waltheof saves Judith’s life, it is clear that the attraction is mutual. But marriage has little to do with love in medieval Europe. When William refuses to let the couple wed, Waltheof joins forces with his fellow rebels in an uprising against the King. William brutally crushes the rebellion, but realizes that Waltheof cannot be ignored. Marrying him to his niece, he decides, is the perfect way to keep him in check.
But is the match between the Saxon earl and Norman lady made in heaven or hell? As their children grow, Waltheof and Judith must choose between their feelings for each other and older loyalties. At the same time, the reputation of Waltheof’s Norman acquaintance Simon de Senlis continues to flourish. The son of William’s chamberlain, he shares a special bond with Waltheof, who rescued him from being trampled by a horse when he was a squire. Now Simon enjoys the confidence of both the King and the rebel earl. And when tension between the two ignites once more, it is Simon who is set to reap the reward.
Based on an astonishing true story of honor, treachery, and love, The Winter Mantle is historical fiction at its very best, reaching from the turbulent reign of William the conqueror to the high drama of the Crusades.