This epic tale of passion and greed begins when a mysterious secret disrupts the succession to the English crown and an unlikely member of King Henry's family takes the throne. A power struggle between Henry's daughter, Maud, and nephew, Stephen, causes England to be torn by war as battles rage for the rightful heir. Meanwhile, Bishop Waleran Bigod and the Hamleigh family manipulate the conflict to satisfy their own ruthless ambitions. Within this tumultuous setting, Prior Philip fights insurmountable obstacles to keep Kingsbridge and his dream of building a magnificent cathedral alive. The task is daunting, but master-mason Tom Builder, his gifted stepson, Jack, and noblewoman Aliena work together to achieve their dreams. And in the process, the long-hidden secret is revealed.