This book is one of my top ten favorite novels. I recently re-read it and was reminded why it lives in my imagination. This is the same author who writes as Ellis Peters and created the Brother Cadfael series, also great reads.
I couldn't write it better...so here is a review straight from goodreads:
A trilogy of novels set in twelfth-century England and Wales--The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch, and The Scarlet Seed--chronicles the adventures of master stone carver Harry Talvace; Ralf Isambard, Lord of Parfois; and their two sons.
Set on the volatile, hotly disputed Welsh border, this full-bodied, swift-moving story of deadly politics, clashing armies, and private passions sweeps the reader into its characters' grand quest for justice and vengeance. The trilogy focuses on Harry Talvace, who bears stamped on his face the lineage of Shrewsbury's Norman conquerors. Born to aristocratic parents and nursed by a stone mason's wife, he grows up fiercely loyal to his breast-brother, the sunny, irresistibly charming Adam. Harry also discovers that he has a gift--the ability to carve stone with the sure hand of genius.
In his fifteenth year, Harry's devotion to Adam and his obsession to sculpt set into motion the thrilling tale of Volume One, The Heaven Tree. Rebelling against his father and fleeing England to save Adam, Harry finds his destiny entangled in the affairs of commoners and kings, divided by two women--the courageous dark-haired Gilleis and the beautiful courtesan Benedetta--and pledged to the brooding, mysterious Lord of Parfois, Ralf Isambard, who sponsors Harry's monumental creation of a cathedral. And while Wales and France challenge England's crown, these men and women follow their desires toward jealousy, pitiless revenge, and passion so madly glorious neither time nor a merciless execution can end it.
In Volume Two, The Green Branch, Harry's son, young Harry Talvace, is drawn into the fabulous intrigues of the court of Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, and bound by a blood oath to find and kill his father's old enemy, Isambard. Yet the threads that bind his life to the ruthless Isambard are not so easily severed, as Harry falls under the spell of the aging warrior lord.
The concluding volume, The Scarlet Seed, brings full circle this tale of implacable enmity and unshakeable loyalty. As a kingdom shudders under the flames of civil war and captor becomes captive, the final siege of Parfois creates a climax to this tale so majestic, noble, and heartbreaking no reader will ever forget it.