Matilda is the granddaughter of William the Conqueror but also descended, through her mother, from the ancient line of Anglo-Saxon kings. Betrothed to Emperor Henry of Germany at the age of eight, she is married at 12 and crowned Empress. By her early 20s she is a widow, and the only surviving legitimate heir to her father, Henry I of England. Forced into a second marriage to a boy 10 years younger, she gives birth to three sons, the male heirs her father longs for.
"Tedious story and distracting performance"
Occupied France is a dangerous place for two teenagers, especially when they are the children of a French mother and a British father. Desperate to escape and get back to England they take refuge on a canal barge and find themselves immersed in the complex Operation Kingfisher. There are plenty of forces at work determined to scupper any plans to see Allied airmen safely back to England, and eyes are everywhere.
In 1955,Cyprus is torn apart by EOKA, and Ariadne’s family is deeply involved, but her heart skips the divide on seeing young officer Stephen Allenby when her house is searched by the British. They have an affair, but when it becomes known, he is sent home. In 1974 Stephen exists in a strained marriage and miserable job, but resurgence of EOKA activity affords him the opportunity to return to the island, with his wife and daughter in tow, where he searches for remembrances of his youth.