Beginning in 1176, this military historical novel tells the story of Duke Richard of Aquitaine – known to history as Richard I or Richard the Lionheart – through the eyes of a knight named Ranulf. Ranulf is hard tested and hand-picked, along with a wise monk named Alun, to guide the young duke to his destiny of continuing the Plantagenet dynasty. Once Ranulf learns his mission, Richard’s story begins in earnest, chronicling his early victories securing his father’s kingdoms in Normandy and the surrounding area. Later, when Richard becomes king, the story follows Richard’s successes in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade through his famous captivity and ransom, and beyond.
Told in a highly narrative style, this book will appeal to fans of the period looking for a summary of the events of Richard’s life. Though written in first person, it is not an intimate life story; it is more of a recounting of the great deeds of a mighty king. With its focus on Richard’s military victories and charm, it can feel a bit one-sided, but if you’re a fan of the Lionheart, you’ll enjoy tracing the events that led to a self-centered duke becoming one of England’s most celebrated kings.