The heroine of this story had her life changed in a moment, when a knight stole her prized necklace, whilst he was being chased by another knight; however, the latter was shown to be a woman, who invited Cass to join her in retrieving the necklace. Cass is drawn into the life that Sigrid shows her and finds herself within a totally female environment, created for those who have suffered from men in the past. The story follows Cass as she grows older and learns the skills that are needed to fight as a warrior and protect the rest of their community, whilst also taking part in tournaments, in order to win money to help them all live. Running through the story we have suggestions that this is set in the time of King Arthur; there are knights of the round table (but not honourable) and references to a sword in a stone, which reaches its zenith at the end of the book. However, the slight variation in timing, blurs the sense of reality.
There are some very disturbing undertones to this story, based on the way that women were treated during this period. Parts of the story are quite chilling as you realize what women had to do in order to survive. You can understand why a sisterhood of women would try and control their own lives, even though in real life, the closest they would come is in a monastic setting. What is particularly frightening is that women were considered ‘property’, with no rights of their own, until late in the 19th century and even today we do not have the equality that should be available. This is very much a book for the 14 + market, but it gives so many opportunities for discussion about women’s rights.