Paying particular attention to the ceremonies and regalia of feudal life, the author has provided a brief history of feudalism from its beginning at the age of the Dark Ages to its decline. The title comes from the chess board reminders of the strictly marked off class and caste that made the system work in its heyday. All levels of feudal society are discussed in relation to each other. The text follows the course set by the title and the typical lives of the castle, the monastery and the farm are detailed. The rise of the town and the erosion of feudal loyalties by the increase of commerce and the consequent changes in government are ably covered in a lively prose.