An unpretentious, mildly diverting medieval tale which spins out its peppy little adventure with a minimum of period ambiance. Gervase Escot (""William Longsword"") is on the run, having been done out of his inheritance by dastardly Sir Bertrand de Bors. By chance Gervase stumbles onto the seat of powerful Lord Henry of the Castle Mailing of Ware; disguised as a beggar, he beats off a crowd of hostile beggars to save Lady Beata of the Castle, who will soon be nursing him through smallpox. They fall in love. And eventually Gervase (still incognito) will be apprenticed to the castle's steward--taking over the post; learning to contend with Henry's dim, fierce son Crispin; teaching swordplay and tournament tactics to Henry's miserable bastard son Jaclin. But the romance of Gervase and Beata seems hopeless, since she's been promised to the church since birth. And then Beata's lovely sister Elaine awaits the suit of none other than Sir Bertrand! So Gervase, disguised in armor as Jaclin, must overcome Bertrand in a tournament duel (after Bertrand has fatally wounded Crispin in an unsportsmanlike maneuver). Lord Henry, however, condemns Gervase to a lingering death when he learns his true identity. And it's a turret-hanger right up to Beata's robing ceremony, with a clamorous trial and Lord Henry sitting as judge. A chimney-corner tale without much depth or art--but there's a redeeming energy.