The Norman/French Border in 1033. Duke Robert is preparing for battle supported by his cousin, Tancred de Hauteville, and his sons. Tancred is hoping that Duke Robert will take the boys into his household but is sadly disappointed when he refuses point-blank to do so. When it also becomes clear that the Duke intends to name his bastard son, William, as his heir the de Hauteville boys have no alternative but to make their own way in the world. Meanwhile in Italy, there is another power struggle going on. Sixteen-year- old Guaimar, heir to Salerno, vows vengeance when his father is betrayed by the Normans and sees his lands stolen by Pandulf, Prince of Capua, known as The Wolf.
The two eldest de Hauteville sons, William and Drogo, travel to Italy to enlist as mercenaries in whichever household will take them and soon find themselves in service to Rainulf Drengot.
The story continues with the paths of William and Drogo, Guaimar and Pandulf criss-crossing across Italy. It has pace and excitement and the pages just keep turning. This was not an episode in history that I knew much about, being more familiar with the exploits of the Normans versus the English than the Normans in Italy and Sicily. This is the first book in a new series by Jack Ludlow chronicling the achievements of the de Hauteville family, and I look forward to reading the next one.