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In October 1066 the Norman Duke William defeated the Saxon King of England, Harold Godwinson, at the Battle of Hastings. He became King William the First of England, known as William the Conqueror, and spent the next two years ruthlessly quashing the various insurrections that sprang up across the country, especially in the North-East. During these years he began to reward those knights who had been loyal to him by giving them ownership of large tracts of land to subdue. Some of his most ruthless and loyal knights were ceded lands that bordered the country of Wales, which had not been conquered since Roman times. Unable to resist the chance of acquiring more territory, some of these Norman knights invaded parts of Wales, massacred the unprepared citizens and considered themselves invincible. They were known as the Marcher Lords; among these were the Earls of Chester, Shrewsbury and Hereford, who were under the overall control of Earl Fitzosbern, who was the most powerful man in England after King William.
The Welsh people fought back, relying on their leaders, their rugged mountains and their own courage. Lords Gwriad and Dafydd, the heroes of the previous novels Celtic Dreams of Glory and In the Ashes of a Dream, become inevitably involved in the battles. The story deals with their changing lives, the developing grip on Britain of William the Conqueror, and how Wales fought to maintain its independence in spite of overwhelming odds.