Leaving the trappings of King Arthur's days several centuries behind her (The Dragon's Quest. 1962, 564, J-162 and others), the author moves into the early fifteenth century when Henry IV was on England's throne. Miss Manning focuses on another man's ""reign""--Harry Paye's. Harry, known as Arripay, was one of the infamous pirates who led raids from the southern coast of England on French ships, prior to the Hundred Years War. Young Adam Morden, whose two brothers and father had gone to sea, studied Latin at the chantry chapel, but dreamed of becoming one of Arripay's men. After killing a man, he is almost forced to the bloody sea, by his own conscience. Countless stock characters milling about serve to confuse the plot, which is sometimes fast moving and sometimes draggingly slow. Characterization, which in most instances has been executed in stark blacks and whites, fails to be convincing.