Rejected by a mere knight, Elena is only too happy to escape her rustic surroundings and the guidance of her beloved godmother, Lady Melanthe, for the bright lights of the courts of London and Prague. But fate intervenes, snuffing out that adventure while igniting a far more challenging one in Shadow Heart , the dazzling return of historical author Laura Kinsale. Taken captive by the mysterious Allegreto, Elena is as haunted by his torments as he is himself. Consumed with the craving to restore his rightful place in the province of Monteverde, Allegreto makes her first his prisoner, then his bride. Elena grows from a budding maiden, teary over a youthful romance gone awry, into a wife able to stand with equal strength at her husband's side as she helps him come to terms with his assassin's background and roguish nature. Here, the plunder is heartfelt as both strive for love greater than themselves, and the treasure is Kinsale's gift to her readers: a powerful story and characters with dimension and depth set in the 14th-century times and exotic landscapes that Kinsale paints with ringing clarity.