Against the background of the First Crusade strides Orme, the thane Eric's son, in his determination to win knighthood and so be able to reclaim his lands usurped by the Earl of Clarendon. Driven from England after he has defended his aunt and defied the Earl, Orme's adventures with his faithful longbowman Lief include dastardly tricks from the Venetian Dandolo whose ship encounters Saracen pirates soon put to rout by Orme's lefthanded ax work, a rewarding friendship with the Jew, Naaman, in Bari, and an affair with the Lady Irene, the wife of Emperor Alexis' cousin, before he takes the cross. They continue as he serves Godfrey of Bouillon through the long and miserable marching and fighting on the way to the City of God. His knighthood and Jerusalem secured, Orme returns to claim his rights and the bride of his own choosing. The derring-do of valiant warriors, the politics within the Crusade, the moments of true exaltation -- and of brutality, the mechanics and strategy of the battles and sieges are all part of this stalwart Anglo-Saxon's progress towards his goal. Spectacular but not enduring.