Seventeen-year-old-Hope rebels against an arranged marriage in medieval England. Her uncle, Baron John of Colchester, schools her in languages and especially in the Scriptures while her betrothed, Richard, remains missing after pursuing fame and the Church's approval in the Crusades. Robert, son of the Earl of Chelmsford, tempts her to defy her family and give in to his proclamations of love.
Colchester Manor is attacked and a mysterious knight appears to help Hope find her missing family. She is forced to flee for her life to his protection. Sir Chris, the Knight of the Black Lion, and his strange Arab companion seek answers to Hope's questions about Hugo Brun de March, the French knight who claims to carry messages about a thousand lost crusaders throughout Europe.
Hope knows he is in fact the attacker who burned Colchester and who repeatedly tries to capture and kill her. Sir Christ struggles with a mysterious weakness but displays Samson-like strength when the need is greatest.
The Arab Sadaquah gives Hope a strange book, the diary of a man whose early selfish ambition leads him to extraordinary adventures and a miraculous conversion. Caught up in the tale of this stranger's sufferings for his faith, Hope is shattered to discover he may be dead. She is forced to forget the diary's tale and to deal with the reality of her living protector and his tireless quest to get her justice and recover her family.
When Sir Chris is captured unbelievable revelations of the past rock Hope's whole being. She comes to the inescapable conclusion that an ongoing plot and a great evil far larger than her own troubles seeks to subvert English law and justice.