Judith Tarr is a talented writer. This book was a nice twist on historical fantasy -- based on the story of a true figure in history (William the Conquerer) -- yet using the conventions of fantasy (magic and Fairie) to tell a story of two people (William and Mathilda, the woman who helps him deal with the challenge of having magical abilities) facing tremendous adversity. An entertaining read, plus some romance between the two protagonists.
Here's a blurb from the book:
"As a reigning specialist in fiction of the ancient world, [Tarr] has taken on settings from dynastic Egypt to Camelot, and her work's fascination derives as much from the solidly grounded, multifaceted backdrop she waves as from the magical elements, inspired by a masterful storyteller's imagination, that she injects into her scenarios." -Booklist (starred review)