Alvin E. Nix III
The novel begins in the English village of Hookton, where a boy named Thomas is growing up under the parenthood of his father, who is also the village priest. Thomas has great skill with a bow, but he trains secretly because his father does not allow him to use it. On the morning of Easter in 1342, a French party of raiders arrive under the command of Sir Guillaume d'Evecque, a French Knight. In his party of raiders is a warrior dressed all in black, known simply as the Harlequin, who has hired Sir Guillaume to carry out the raid to steal Hookton's treasure, the Lance of St. George. During the raid The Harlequin kills Thomas' father, and the lance is stolen from the village. With his bow Thomas successfully kills four of the raiders, but the Harlequin and Sir Guillaume both escape.
The book then advances four years in time, when Thomas has gone to France to serve in the English army and enact revenge upon the murders of his father. He is serving under Will Skeat, a competent commander. The army is besieging the city of La Roche-Derrien, it assaults the city and is beaten back by several. Citizens of the city attempt to defend their home, among them a woman called Blackbird fights. Her real name is Jeanette, and she is the countess of Amorica. With her crossbow she wounds an English knight named Sir Simon Jekyll. She hits him in the arm and Jekyll vows revenge upon her.
Skeat and Thomas go to visit the army commander, who is the Earl of Northampton. Thomas believes that he has discovered a way to assault the city from the rear, where it is only protected by a weak wooden palisade. The Earl grants Thomas permission to lead an assault on the rear of the city. Thomas and his men are successful in breaking through the palisade, they open the gates and the town is sacked.
The war calls the Earl away to another campaign. Skeat and his men, including Thomas, are left to watch over the newly...