Queen Bertrada, King Charlemagne’s mother, banishes his first wife, sending Himiltrude and her son from the Frankish court in the early hours of a winter morning. As Himli travels to her new home, she aids in saving the life of Charlemagne’s future brother-in-law, Prince Adelchis, heir to the Lombard throne. Knowing she can never return home, the banished queen gathers her courage, re-defines her own strengths, and works to acquire the skills needed to oversee her manor and help it thrive. Months pass; Himli adjusts to changed circumstances; little Pippin thrives in his new home. Once again, Prince Adelchis’ soldiers seek her help. The prince is wounded and is sheltering in a cave some distance from her manor. During his convalescence, Himli and Adelchis fall in love. There is much danger in their growing relationship – both for them and for little Pippin. Adelchis’ father, yearning to rule the Frankish realm himself, plots to attack King Charlemagne. Adelchis is unable to deflect his father’s ambitions. Charlemagne overcomes the Lombard king and holds him in a monastery for life. Prince Adelchis escapes by fleeing to far-off Constantinople. Must Himli, knowing nothing of Adelchis’ fate, accept a life of loneliness? Will little Pippin never have the father he deserves?