Curious Arthurian fantasy from a Wales-resident newcomer. Not long after the Vincans have departed the shores of the island kingdom Tir Tanagiri, raids by yellow-haired warrior Jarns begin to ravage the coasts. In Derwen, a party of raiders takes young warrior Sulien by surprise; she kills or wounds several but they capture, bind, and rape her. Finally her brother Darien arrives, killing several, but he's also killed by the last Jarn, Ulf Gunnarsson, whom Sulien wounded. She agrees to heal Gunnarsson with her magic in exchange for her life, but he rapes her and dedicates her to his god, One-Eye. Furious and grieving, Sulien gallops off to warn High King Urdo, who accepts her as an armiger. Finding herself pregnant in due course, Sulien goes off to a monastery to have her baby: a boy she names Darien and, against all custom, Suliensson. Soon after the birth, Urdo's sister Morwen visits the monastery. An evil sorceress who doesn't like the future Sulien and her son will help create, Morwen attempts to kill Sulien—but Gunnarsson's god, One-Eye, saves her. Later, Morwen will perish in flame, leaving behind her evil son Morthu. Sulien steadfastly supports Urdo in his ambition to restore to Tir Tanagiri the civilization and peace embodied by the vanished Vincans.
Walton's debut, though lacking in tension and excitement, thoughtfully reweaves Arthurian legend with history into a vivid, fluent narrative.