Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
This French tale, set in the 17th century, chronicles the marriage between an errant knight and a beautiful spinster. The tale begins in 1629, and the knight is Nathan Le Cerf who joins the regiments of Count Anchire after he loses his entire family to the plague. Nathan's first assignment is to kill the gambling rival of the count in a duel; Nathan obeys, but gets wounded in the process. Still he makes it back to his master and is expecting a generous reward. Instead, the count reviles the knight, invokes Louis XIII's ban on dueling, and orders Nathan beheaded. Nathan will have none of that. Despite his bleeding abdominal wound, he escapes into the countryside. Initially he finds shelter with his lifelong friend, a chalk maker; he then goes on to one of his patrons, an artist. Nathan is relegated to living in a humble hut in the wilds. Eventually he meets an impoverished noblewoman, Marhte de Lairac. She is a rare vision of beauty with her flowing red hair and wide eyes. She and Nathan decide to wed and she begins living with him in the simple cottage. At first the two are quite formal with each other, but soon a real sexual chemistry develops between them. Marthe seems to be terribly excited by Nathan's desire for vengeance against the treacherous count and she eagerly helps him train. The count eventually shows up and Nathan gets revenge. Unfortunately his actions create a disturbing change in his relationship with Marthe.
knight, revenge, law, love, killing, marriage, on-the-run, spinster, plague