That leaves Aliena open to advances from Alfred Builder. Many things have worked against him, not least of which is a lack of real talent. He's proficient, as any apprentice of Tom Builder's would be, but he lacks his father's vision and imagination, or his step-brother Jack's inspired brilliance. Now, after Tom's death during the fleece fair attack, Alfred finds himself inheritor of his father's position as Master Builder for Kingsbridge Cathedral, with second-hand status but an assured income. He offers use of that income to Richard—in exchange for Aliena's hand in marriage. Alfred loves her in a twisted way, but his principal intent is revenge against her true love Jack, who in Alfred's eyes has taken away so many things: his mother, his father's affection, and his own reputation.

Alfred tries to combine his father's skill with Jack's imagination, and fails dismally. He uses stone instead of Tom's planned timber vaulting on walls never designed for such weight, and the result is a catastrophic structural failure that buries many people and Alfred's hopes for his career. Alfred is played by Liam Garrigan, another young, up and coming British actor.

The other young characters play smaller, but equally pivotal roles. Elizabeth of Weymouth, the unfortunate girl who becomes William Hamleigh's wife at the age of 13, serves to show Aliena what her fate might have been had she not rejected her brutish suitor. Marriage at such a young age was not uncommon in the medieval period due to short lifespans. But even more important were political and financial alliances: Elizabeth is first a cash investment for the Hamleigh family, and only secondly a bride for William. His stupidity and sadism ensure that she will provide no children. Aided by Aliena, whose experience of William Hamleigh has also involved little but brutality, Elizabeth's near-bloodless takeover of Shiring Castle is an elegant and ironic revenge on a man whose usual answer to everything is violence. Elizabeth is played by British newcomer Skye Lourie. I was on set the day she shot a very poignant scene with Hayley Atwell (Aliena) and found myself moved to tears.

Besides just his sister, who is Martha to Alfred?


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