In the Holy Land, an assassin waits to strike down Aimary de Lusignan, King of Jerusalem and Cyprus. He belongs to a clan of ambitious and rebellious Poitevin barons, admired and reviled from France to the Holy Land, rumored to be descended from the legendary half-serpent Mélusine.
In Poitou, her years as a novice hardly prepared the plain and pious Juliana de Charnais to become the wife of Guérin de Lasalle, Lord of Parthenay. A former mercenary with a formidable pedigree, Lasalle is a man singularly averse to conventions secular and spiritual.
When a messenger arrives from the Holy Land, calling upon Lasalle to prop up the Lusignan crown in that much contested part of the world, Juliana and Lasalle become trapped in intrigues as byzantine as they are deadly between the Lusignans and the d’Ibelíns, two related and bitterly rival families. On Cyprus, the Island of Aphrodite, they find that loyalty, like love, comes in many guises, and that duty and honour require a terrible sacrifice.