A magnificent love story unfolds against a backdrop of exotic splendor and stirring deeds as young Englishwoman Laura Hewitt joruneys to the East to the fabled fiefdom of the Zemindar, Guardian of the Earth. In love with her cousin Emily's husband, Laura travels to India in the winter of 1856-1857. She does not want to travel with Emily and Charles on their honeymoon trip, but family pressure and family affection compel her to accompany the newlyweds as Emily's companion.
He is Oliver Erskine, hereditary ruler of his private kingdom, commander of his own native army - and brother of the man she loves. Subject of Britain's Queen, but also a son of India, he walks the tightrope between treason to the Crown and betrayal of his own beloved land, a world both beautiful and dangerous, lit with splendor and torn by despair. Challenged by Erskine to plumb India's innermost secrets, Laura's quest puts her in thrall to the Zemindar himself, arrogant and demanding, lustful and compassionate, tender and persuasive. He infuriates her, invades her soul - and claims her as his own, forcing her to confront her own divided loyalties, her own mutinous heart.
Winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award (1982) by the Romantic Novelists' Association.