Brothers Will and Ned and other men from their village are conscripted into Edward I’s army, marched to Wales and set to digging ditches to prepare for the building of his new castle Flint. Will is the younger brother, but in many ways the elder as Ned is mute, although he has unique talents of his own, from horse whispering, to his musical talents (which he gained from Welsh barb Ieuan ap y Gof) and knowledge of herbs.
Their time in Wales has some unusual ups and downs and I really don’t want to give much away as this is a very short novel. The book is narrated in four POV’s, three are first person from Will at different points in his life and one in third person and the switches are marked by icons indicating who the narrator is. Probably my only complaint about the book is that I found the switches in POV’s rather distracting and I never could get a handle on who narrator #4 was (or perhaps *he* was no one and it went over my head again :)). Other than that, a quick, enjoyable read, and gives the reader a different look at Wales, its music and ole’ Longshank’s efforts to subjugate the Welsh people. The writing is just lovely and I do recommend it but still, the be-all to end-all on Llywelyn ap Gruffydd is always going to be Penman’s fabulous The Reckoning.
FTC, don’t you worry your pretty heads at all. I got it from the library.