Arlette and Michael--she an heiress about to be married off for political advantage, he the penniless claimant to an important barony--play romantic counterpoint to this saga of Simon de Montfort vs. Prince Edward. Trease backs Edward (later Edward I) as a progressive force against the recalcitrant barons, but it is Michael, a sort of premature democrat bent on advancing by merit rather than inheritance, who provides the easy contemporary identification. . . all too easy since Michael's love match with the equally plucky Arlette (she delivers a secret message across enemy lines) is foreseeable from their first meeting. The military chessgame of barons and king's men, and the strategy that led to Edward's victory at Evesham are what stick with the reader. Even here the tale vacillates between Michael's partisanship and the author's reminders that the quarrel, after all, was more a matter of personal power than ideals. Predictable pageantry, for those who still find that the presence of fictional understudies makes their history lessons more palatable.