England in the reign of King John-a time of beauty and squalor, of swift treachery and unswerving loyalty. Against this violent, exciting background the story of Harry Talvace, master mason, unfolds. Harry and his foster-brother Adam tasted injustice young and together fled to Paris, where Harry's genius for carving drew him into friendship with the enigmatic Ralf Isambard, lord of Parfois, and the incomparably beautiful Madonna Benedetta, a Venetian courtesan. In their company he returned to his native Shropshire to build a church for Isambard beside Parfois Castle. Soaring heavenwards, the tree of stone became an arrow of light, but as it flowered, darkening shadows presaged jealousy, pitiless revenge-and death.