Sir David Purviance, Irish by birth and early upbringing, English by education and service, returns to Ireland in the dark days of the 1590's to secure his ancestral lands. With his two contrasting but compatible friends, the Irish Con and the English Dick, he becomes involved in bloody intrigues and daring escapades, and discovers that there is little enough honor or justice on either the English or the Irish side. His projected solution: ""To Virginia and a new life in the New World."" The plot is propelled by a surfeit of providential meetings, the characters are embodiments of national attributes, but ""the ancient Celtic world... at its business of fighting and preparing for the fight"" is effectively evoked. Background to the forefront here.