The novels opens in 1400, only a few months after Richard II has been dethroned and Henry IV has succeeded him as king of England. Unjustly implicated in a plot against Henry, the blind Baron Falworth, Myles's father, flees his ancestral home at Falworth Castle for Crosbey-Holt, an obscure, strawthatched farmhouse on the grounds of St. Mary's Priory. The first quarter of the novel features the country fairs, monastic routines, and quiet peasant farm life of rural medieval England. At sixteen, Myles leaves this idyllic English countryside for Devlen Castle, seat of the powerful Earl of Mackworth. Pyle provides a detailed picture of medieval castle life, its cramped living areas and spacious public rooms, its cold discomforts and splendid pageantry. Made a knight in 1411, Myles goes on a brief expedition to France before returning to London. There he defeats his ancestral enemy before turning his back on the frivolity and political intrigue of the London court for a quiet married life at Falworth Castle, his reclaimed baronial estate. The novel, then, affords a panoramic sweep of rural, castle, and court life in medieval England.
(The entire section is 183 words.)