On the eve of Merthin and Caris' departure to Italy Brother Thomas digs up a secret that will change the life of many forever. Godwyn has Merthin and Caris, no longer a nun, arrested. As they are to be executed Brother Thomas leads a revolt freeing Kingsbridge people from the priory's grasp. News that King Edward II is alive reach Queen Isabella who convinces her son to attack Kingsbridge and put every one of its citizens to the sword. However, they decide to show a fearless resistance in the face of tyranny and in the midst of battle, olds scores get settled.moreless
Despite leaving Kingsbridge, Godwyn hasn't been able to get away from the sickness. After being alerted by Brother Joseph, Brother Thomas, Brother Matthias, Merthin and Caris go in his search to get the priory's money back. As it was Brother Matthias' last wish, Brother Thomas confesses his secret to Caris. Gwenda loses her youngest son to the plague which brings her and Wulfric together again. With Kingsbridge's population decimated Prior Caris goes against custom and offers a fair wage to those who offer to farmer priory lands. And enfuriated Lord Ralph tries to restore things but his peasants, led by Gwenda, rebel against him. With Earl Roland dead, Petranilla nurses Godwyn to health and offers her help for Lord Ralph to regain what was lawfully his. Queen Isabella returns to England to mourn princess Joan and gives Lord Ralph the Earldom of Shiring back, restoring the priory to Godwyn.moreless
Caris returns to Kingsbridge with the King's grant to stop Godwyn's house and build her hospice. The Black Death has broken in Europe, robbing Merthin of his family, and he returns home to his old flame. Caris rejects him in the knowledge that Prior Godwyn would hang her as a witch if she were to leave the convent but they grow closer as they struggle together to rid Kingsbridge of the pestilence. Godwyn flees the town but Sir Thomas Langley stays behind. Kingsbridge is ravaged by the Black Death which takes many lives, Sister Cecilia among them. Caris becomes a Prior. Before dying, Merthin's mother confesses an old secret to Caris. Petranilla, affected by the plague, uses her sickness as a means for revenge and sends a gift to Earl Roland. Philippa, now a widow, refuses to marry Ralph who has been knighted by the King. Gwenda and Wulfric can barely make ends meet and when Ralph refuses to help them, they fall apart. Tired of her scheming, King Edward III sends his mother into exile.moreless
7 years have passed. Caris, a nun now, receives news from Merthin who is successfully working in Florence where he's formed a family. She continues studying and practicing medicine and cares for Gwenda's son when he's injured. Sister Meir sees Brother Thomas in bed with another monk but decides to say nothing after consultation with Caris. An unexpected inheritance provides with the funds for Caris to build her hospice but Prior Godwyn soon plots to get his hands on the money. Sister Cecilia sends Caris to the battlefield, to seek help from the King whose main concern is finding a way to break through the French ranks and get his men back to England.moreless
Godwyn, now Prior, imposes his strict religious views on Kingsbridge. Moreover, he decides to use some convent lands to build himself a house, which clashes with Mother Cecilia's wish to build a hospice for Caris to run. Determined to have his way at all cost, he has Merthin dismissed as the bridge builder and Caris accused of witchcraft but Mother CeciFlia devises a way to save Caris's life. Merthin stands up to Ralph when he begins to unfairly take wool from the local merchants. Ralph's despotism takes him to face the gallows accused of rape. The King's battle with France is going on for longer than expected and more soldiers are needed. To replenish the army, prisons are emptied which makes Ralph save his neck.moreless
As a consequence of the bridge collapsing, many lives are taken and many others forever changed. Gwenda's father, Mattie Wise and the Prior are lost, whereas Earl Roland is heroically saved by his squire Ralph. Caris is frustrated due to the lack of means and space to treat the injured and tries to convince Mother Cecilia to build a hospice. Roland and Lady Marjorie's marriage is short lived as soon as news of her betrayal reach the Earl's ear. Brother Godwyn begins to plot to become the next Prior, overunning Sir Thomas Langley. Merthin's ideas and enthusiasm grant him the contract to build the new bridge. Meanwhile, King Edward III believes that God has sent him a sign indicating his rightful aspiration to the throne of France.moreless
Merthin and Caris care for each other but Caris is forced into an unwanted marriage with Elfric, Merthin's master, who makes her life miserable. After Caris tries to help Merthin get some important work, Elfric beats her and Merthin's intervention makes Caris end up repudiated and him workless. Gwenda's father sends her to a local farmer in exchange for a cow as a way to punish her for resisting his sexual advances. The annual Fleece Fair attracts many people to Kingsbridge and Ralph realizes that several women find him attractive. A cast is shadowed over the festivities when Mattie Wise is to face a witch trial. Tragedy ensues during her execution when the bridge collapses, killing many people. Petranilla takes advantage of the chaos to help her son climb the ecclesiastical ladder. Meanwhile in London, King Edward III takes the reins of power from his overbearing mother.moreless
It's a time of great upheaval both in England and in Kingsbridge. After a surprising victory over her own husband, Queen Isabella bestows the crown on her youthful son, now King Edward III. King Edward II is found murdered in jail and a mysterious knight arrives in Kingsbridge carrying a big secret. Counting on the favour of the Queen, Sir Roland is made the new Earl of Shiring and arrests the current Earl for treason, sparing his two sons. The eldest, Ralph, becomes his squire while the youngest, Merthin, is apprenticed to Elfric Builder. He also arrests Edmund Wooler but his sister Petranilla manages to buy his freedom. Caris Wooler shows an interest towards medicine and starts to learn from Mattie Wise.moreless
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