What a captivating novel! A sergeant, a veteran in his end 30ties who served his king for 20 years and has lost his family in the wars with a neighbouring country, is invalided during an uprising in the capital and blamed for the disaster and the great loss of lives his commanding officer caused.
Saved by his former commander and friend from execution as a scapegoat, he is banished to a far away and forgotten royal palace to work there as the groundsman. Trying to bring the gardens back from being a jungle he meets a lonely young girl of around 6. The two of them become friends and he gets to know her secret. But can he protect her?
It is a lovely book. You can feel the love of the limping lonely man for this equally lonely girl. The village near the castle and the castle itself are populated by a whole rainbow of people. The world is a fantasy world but resembles a 13/14th century Medieval society. There are only a few hints to non-human persons or magic but it is mostly a pseudo England with rebels (Scots?) invading it.
I really enjoyed reading it. It is part of a series and book 2 is about a warrior maiden mentioned in this book but I think the three books will bring the saga to a close or so I hope. Looking forward to read the other novels in this series.