This adds to the previous novels of English early history (The Dark Island, The Great Captains) for here, 4,000 years ago, are the flint men, the fisherfolk, the hunters and the dog men of south England, wary and suspicious of each other, unalike in ways and customs. Garroch, son of the Old Man of Craig Dun, unwillingly brings Rua, of the Fish people, to his home, for she has killed her father to go with him and bring food to Garroch's people; she taunts him to kill a wolf and he outdoes her scorn by killing one with his teeth. When the Hunters come, answering their disbelief, he becomes a blood brother by accident to Asa Wolf and together they try to keep the Old Man from being killed. Garroch impersonates him in a mock burial; takes his people on war parties to sack other villages for cattle and food; is trapped and imprisoned. Asa frees him by ransom and Garroch returns to face the strangers from over the water who have swords of gold and are ruled by the Sun God. Killing their leader brings him Isca who makes many changes in the dark people's devotions to their Earth Mother and who, as the hated sister of the woman now driving the dead Sun God leader's son to conquest, is the instrument of his mutilation. A striking recreation of a primitive society, of savaging and savagery, this spans the years with vitality and excitement, with strength in character and customs.