How many times, she wondered, had she woven together cloth that his sword had then torn apart along with the flesh underneath?
The year is 1136, the place Tropèa, a walled sea town in Southern Italy during the Norman domination.
Kallyna d’Àrgira, a master of the arts of the loom who can turn the world into silk thread, is pledged in marriage by her father to Raimo Trani, a man she hates. After a sudden tragedy leaves her at Raimo’s mercy, into her life comes Dàlibor d’Hancourt, the Norman knight sent by King Roger of Hauteville to be the new governor of Tropèa, a man who, like her, is burdened by a life he did not choose.
Their opposite stations — Kallyna the daughter of a fisherman, Dàlibor the son of a foreign lord — pit them at first against each other. When Kallyna’s talent attracts the unwelcome attention of the heir to Roger’s throne, who can destroy them both, the common threat will draw them together, with a bond that defies all distinctions, into the time of iron that saw the founding of the greatest kingdom in Italy.