This historical novel, Jay Williams' ninth book, is told partly through the journal of Sir Denys de Courtebarbe, troubadour to King Richard of England, and partly by the author. Either way, it is flecked with anachronisms (Colonel Blimp-type English knights, Freudian flashbacks, etc.) and changes of mood. Denys' early adventures are dealt with in ironic vein: he is a modern non-hero, reluctant to fight and apt to find himself in ridiculous situations. Later, with his English friend Arthur, he joins Richard's crusade. His friends are killed in the siege of Acre, brutally described; and Richard, shown here as a semi-hysterical homosexual, has Arthur murdered. Captured by the Saracens, Denys finds a Moslem friend and a future wife, but decides to return to warn Richard of a Saracen attack, thus rescuing his own sense of honor. Much of this is well-written, entertaining and knowledgeable about poetry, politics and battles, but Denys' search for a self is somewhat mystical and puzzling, and the vagaries of time and viewpoint are distracting.