Ariane, a Wallachian Healer forced to tend an ailing Turk, becomes enslaved when the vassals of the four noble brothers who rule the Dark Citadel storm the Turk’s stronghold. Lord Stephen purchases the virginal Healer, and consigns her to the care of two trainers themselves slaves. Her coldly proud owner makes use of Radu’s and Antony’s extraordinary ability to tame a rebellious new concubine, and turn her into a marvelously responsive sexual partner primed to satisfy her lustful owner.
A gifted leader, Radu forges strong ties of love that bind Antony, Ariane and himself, in order to insure that the three of them enjoy the best possible chance to survive in a dangerous environment. During the storming of the Dark Citadel by a traitorous vassal, Radu, Antony, and Ariane escape, bearing their wounded owner with them. Having forced Stephen to open the gate of the secret exit, they flee to the one place where Ariane knows they can live safely: the Keep of the Unburied Dead, an abandoned stronghold shunned by the superstitious populace.
The ties of love binding Ariane, Antony and Radu to each other grow even stronger, now that the three adventurers enjoy the freedom for which they had so longed. The observant, highly intelligent healer shrewdly concludes that the disease feared to be the plague, which killed the former occupants of the Keep, was not borne on the mist of the Miasmal Swamp. After assuring her companions that only those who drank from the two wells into which the flood carried human excrement died of the lethal ailment, she convinces them that if they drink only from a seep issuing from a rock wall, they will survive.
Having assumed the title of Lord of the Keep, Radu strives to render his refuge defensible. With the help of the two bosom companions whom he so deeply loves, he first captures, and then recruits, a rag-tag group of noble outcasts whose liege lord and all of his followers died when Lord Alexander stormed and demolished their keep. When Lord Gregory appears with an army under his walls, Radu boldly negotiates a truce. When a band of unemployed mercenaries attacks the Keep of the Unburied Dead, Radu brings to bear all of his formidable military skill, and all of his native craftiness, to avert disaster.
Radu, Antony and Ariane unfailingly display cool daring, admirable resourcefulness, and whole-hearted acceptance of Radu’s unrelenting insistence that not only love, but strong ties of honor bind them inseparably to each other.
This offbeat historical novel combines a wildly unconventional love story with stirring scenes of action/adventure, in a compelling tale set against the colorful backdrop of fifteenth century Romanian feudalism as it existed at the end of the bloody reign of Vlad the Impaler.