Ninth-century Nytol with dialogue by Bell Telephone: ""There has been much business transacted in the castle in recent months,"" states Aleen, virgin wife of Edmund, ealdorman of Kent, ""Perhaps that is why the transfer to the castle was temporarily delayed."" Edmund, grieving because his late wife Marion had expired bearing daughter Lelia, takes a vow not to bed Aleen, Marion's sister, whom he has wed--again to cement a political alliance with the Vikings. But mayhap that Edmund will fall in love with Aleen (""A thrilling gust of excitement burst upon her. . . I love him, I love him. . . It was a relief this emergence of the subconscious""). Lelia dies, and Aleen is snubbed by the Saxon ladies, but at last, after Aleen gets herself to a nunnery, the pair, vows annulled, are reunited: ""Edmund's face pressed firmly against her slender neck and Aleen, against his heart. . . shedding tears."" Such gymnastics aren't nearly as racking as the book.