Excellent robber baron story, in the period following the Second Crusade in France. Feudal regime -- guild organization of workers into a commune -- life in battlemented castles --interplay of politics of church and state -- all as background for good adventure. Young Conan, first varlet, then squire to Sir Roger, learns of crooked practice when he has a share in the tragedy at the Red Keep. His hatred against the marauders is intensified later -- and ultimately he pays in kind. Good material of the Middle Ages, and the details strike an authentic chord.