For serfs in feudal Attland, life is an endless round of toil and suffering. When Lia is taken from her family and set to work in the castle's kitchens, she finds herself subject to the whim of a stern and pitiless overseer. As she soon learns to her cost, floggings are daily occurrences and humiliations no less common, with pretty young women obliged to share the overseer's bed. A shift of fortunes sees her transferred to the royal household as bondmaiden to Princess Elfrida, but Lia fares no better here - the princess is spoilt and selfish and takes pleasure in making her new servant's life a misery. Lia's unhappy situation grows more dire still when the castle is attacked and captured by soldiers of Osburg, a rival kingdom. Knowing they can expect little mercy at the hands of the brutal invaders Lia and Elfrida flee, only to fall prey to looting soldiers. Taken as spoils of war, and subjected to unimaginable cruelties, the two young women's prospects are grim indeed. Lia will need all her resilience and courage if she is to survive.