After the Fourth Crusade in 1204 French and Italian invaders created an ephemeral feudal kingdom that flourished for half a century on both sides of the Dardanelles. At that time the Greek Peloponnesus became the ""mighty Frankish empire of Romanie"" where baronial lords, their knights and vassals, engaged in a chilvalrous Mediterranean edition of Arthurian romance. Amidst complicated questions of homage, fealty, and fees, the Frankish nobles indulged themselves in fighting the schismatics and infidels of Wallachia, Turkey and Greece (the ""Grifons""), as well as in the equally taxing vagaries of courtly love. As in his previous novels, Duggan transports us into an unfamiliar historical episode through the fictitious voice of an underling--here a landless, likeable knight in the household service of Lord Geoffrey de Bruyere, the ""best Knight in all Romanie"". A gallant, charming young man, Sir Geoffrey wangles his way in and out of tourneys, civil wars, and crusades with the greatest medieval aplomb. Even a dishonorable flight to Italy with his chief castellan's wife (Lord Geoffrey's Fancy) cannot completely eradicate his somewhat self-concerned code of honor. As the narrator describes his life atop Sir Geoffrey's isolated castle, the most intricate of feudal finaglings in a foreign land are brought vividly to life. Animated by a connoisseur, the history may be obscure, but the knights and ladies make ever-tantalizing adventure.