The Siege Winter takes place against the background of the war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda over England in the mid-12th century. One of the protagonists is Maud, the lady of Kenniford Castle, which is caught between both sides. We also follow Gwilherm, a mercenary, and a young girl whom he rescued after he found her raped and nearly killed, who has taken the name Penda while traveling with him in disguise as a boy. But the monk who attacked Penda is still nearby, and Gwil believes he'll need to hunt him down before he and Penda become the targets instead.
The story is more thriller than historical epic, its focus very tightly on the fictional characters and plotlines (although Empress Matilda does appear). The characters are rather lightly sketched types, and the serial rapist/killer nothing we haven't seen before. Still, it's well executed, and a highly enjoyable tale of war and mystery.