In the chaos of 14th-century England and France, wine is the nectar of angels—a valuable commodity buttressing kingdoms and vaulting vast fortunes. A mysterious old archer named David Arrowsmith recounts his tale to an eager French chronicler, Jean Créton, when the latter learns that his mission to Scotland seems a failure. The burden of Arrowsmith's story rests with Créton, who suddenly finds himself writing about a seemingly cursed infant that barely escapes the grip of the Black Death in rural Wales when his family dies. Except for a single clue on a note attached to an arrow, Jacques and his wife Sophie do not know the identity of the boy's parents when they decide to adopt him. Taken to Bordeaux, the child they name David becomes caught up in a series of events that exposes the corruption of the wine trade, and soon reveals him to be an unmatchable and ambidextrous archer. Banished from Bordeaux after attempting to protect Jacques from a conniving enemy named Pierre Juneau, David flees to England, where he becomes apprenticed to the likeable Richard Lampley in London, and grows to adore the exquisite Eleanor, a peasant girl with her own ambitions. Soon, David is unwittingly flung to Oxford University after a heartrending run-in with a doomed priest sent as a spy to the Avignon papacy, and is ultimately protected by a brilliant scholar named John Wycliffe. In due course, David befriends the bold, brash Hugh of Colchester, a discarded bastard and second-born son, desperate to escape his fate as a cleric to become a knight. The penniless Hugh talks David into giving over his small inheritance to pay for his entrance fee and equipment in the upcoming joust held by England’s two most powerful brothers—Edward, the Black Prince and John of Gaunt—where Hugh faces a most unexpected adversary. Now, David must replenish his lost birthright, assist Wycliffe in his agenda to reform the Church by way of an illegal biblical translation, get to Wales to uncover the strange origins of his birth, and race home to claim Eleanor’s hand before she is betrothed to another. Finally, he must devise his return to Bordeaux to confront the evil Pierre Juneau and liberate Sophie and Jacques from a life of servitude and misery. This he will do with his proud new moniker—David Arrowsmith—as renewed conflict between England and France looms, and the Hundred Years’ War threatens his new life as a merchant and scholar.