England, 5000 years ago. Brennis Gehan, Lord of Valdoe, is planning the genocide of the indigenous hunter-gatherers. Word has already reached them, but when their grand chieftain dies in a hunting accident it seems his successor will not heed the warning. Only Tagart understands the danger: but first he must win the battle for leadership, waged according to ancient and ruthless laws ...
Henley's historical novel examines the struggle between the original nomadic inhabitants of ancient Britain and the more civilizedor at least more organizedinvaders, who feel that after several generations spent farming and mining the coastal areas (albeit using slave labor), they have just as much right to the land. Brennis Gehan, the fifth Flint Lord, has called in additional troops to help him finish off the nomads who live in the forests and limit his empire's growth. But under the leadership of young hunter Tagart, the many nomadic tribes join together to defend themselves. In the end, both are defeated, for the reinforcements, under orders from their Home Lord, capture Gehan's stronghold while they virtually destroy the tribal forces. All the principals are left alive to fight on; it is doubtful, however, that this well-researched, well-written but darkly dour book will inspire any calls for such a sequel. Foreign rights: Heinemann. December 16
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February 14, 2010
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