According to the introduction to this by Heyer’s son this novel was one of the 5 or 6 that Heyer wished never to be printed again. But her son didn’t think it was all that bad, so she republished it. It tells the story of Simon, the illegitimate son of Geoffrey of Malvallet, as he makes his way in the world. He enters the service of Malvallet’s enemy, Fulk of Montlice, as it is said that Montlice is the harder man. And Simon is never one to take the easy route.
Everything he sets out to do he accomplishes. Along the way coming to the king’s attention, gaining a title for himself, and making friends with his half-brother, Geoffrey. But he also gains the nickname, the Coldheart, as he is unfeeling and logical. Stern, but fair. Although children do manage to worm their way into his affections, but never a woman. Not until he goes to France and meets the Lady Margaret, “spitfire of Belremy”. The results are, of course, predictable. This is a romance after all.
It isn’t a terrible book, not by a long stretch, but in comparison to some of the other Heyer’s I’ve read I can see why the author wasn’t as fond of it. The characters are quite flat; there is little of the sparkle that other books have. But still, it is readable and entertaining, just not as good as her others.