As in The Year of the Horsetails (1967) this British author rustles up a series of historical skirmishes, here the thirteenth century around the Aegean Sea. Tancred, a Norman knight, is on his way to the Holy Land when a shipwreck tosses him to the shores of the Lord of Athens. He immediately seeks out a suitable hanging tree for the man he was convinced sold out a fortress to the Greeks while leading a group of mercenaries in his service. (This unhappy identification is repeated ad delirium throughout the book until the reader is inclined to believe it too.) Rescued from execution by a Venetian lord, Sanudo, Tancred (often called ""the Pilgrim"" even while bashing dumb his helpless prey) agrees to infiltrate the service of Verrano, the Genoese leader. After being taken in a prearranged ship battle, fully accepted into service, Tancred works from within, secures Sanudo's victory and returns to France with his chosen lady. At one point a thirteenth century knight exclaims: ""Be quiet boy--such talk did not win us Outremer and Romania. . ."" Indeed not, and neither will such slovenly dialogue, scene-less, unmodulated boppings and bangings do much for the thirteenth century along any shores. An unholy bore.