William Wallace fled to France after his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk, which ended his rebellion against the English King. He would have been slain at Falkirk but for the courage of Hal of Herdmanston, whose home was razed in reprisal by King Edward - but who has become a follower of the Earl of Carrick, known as the Bruce, now a friend of the English.
The Bruce is playing a dangerous game in submitting to Edward since his own ambition, fostered by his auld reprobate grandfather, is to be the King of Scotland. But bitter rivalry amongst the Scots nobility is as grave an obstacle to its independence as the forces of the English Edward Longshanks, and the Bruce has powerful rivals.
Wallace has returned home, though he still faces betrayal from his own. His loyalty is to the previous king, John Baliol, a prisoner of the Pope. Knights Templar, Cathar heretics, and a Curse laid on the Bruce's family all conspire against Robert, as well as Edward's forces. Murder and treachery will be crucial weapons in the long and bloody rise of the Bruce to his coronation.