Set in the midst of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and an unprecedented succession of political revolts sweeping across Europe, sixteenth-century Holland rises up against the repressive control of Spain's King Philip II. But the monarch will not relinquish his absolute rule without a battle, and he sends his emissaries to squelch the rebellion and abolish religious heresy by the edge of the sword. Pieter-Lucas van den Garde, a gifted Dutch artist, and Aletta Engelshofen, daughter of a bookseller, have loved each other from childhood. As the Inquisitors try to suppress the conflicting and often confusing "new Faiths" arising all around them, Pieter-Lucas and Aletta dare to begin their own desperate search for truth and justice. Together they witness Pieter-Lucas's "anointing for service" in the Great Church of Breda, But all too soon they are wrenched apart by the turbulent struggles of their parents. Forbidden to see Pieter-Lucas, who is forced from his home, Aletta secretly promises her love to him and vows to wait for him until the time of trouble subsides. Will their promise see them through the darkest hour?