Dick Grainger is growing up in Yorkshire and Maria Verzotto is in her far-off home in Monteleone in Sicily when they first hear the story of the Golden Lion - the story of a hero, a prince who wins his princess. Later, Helen Connors, the child whom Maria adopts, and Guy, her painfully-loved son, will read it too... But there is another Lion: the Lion of Monteleone, who rules his village kingdom through extortion, kidnapping, murder. This is the Lion Maria remembers from early childhood days when, hidden in a linen chest, she hears what has become of her missing cousin - a knowledge so terrible that it haunts her all her life. Through Maria the two are linked, just as through Maria two worlds are linked: a world of poverty and power in Sicily; of privilege and pain in Yorkshire.The Golden Lion reveals the savage reality of human life which lies beneath the glorious childhood dreams - the reality which includes as well as love, infidelity and betrayal, revenge and loss. Pamela Haines has created a magnificent, sweeping saga of love and pain and self-discovery. Her characters, related and inter-related by blood, by love or by destiny, have that rare and compelling quality: they live and breathe.

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