John Julius Norwich breathes life into this tale of the sons of Tancred de Hautvilles in the sun drenched climes of southern Italy. The history begins with the arrival of the brothers Hautville and describes their rise from brigands and horse thieves to duke of Apulia (Robert Guiscard, who, by the end of his life, had emperors of east and west on the run and the pope eating out of his hand) and Count of Sicily (Roger, who laid the foundations for the kingdom of sicily). The character of the men and women desribed shines through the pages, described in Norwichs easy, enthusiastic style. They don't write novels or make films like this. Too much happens in real life, and yet Norwich delivers his narrative with great clarity allowing the actions of the characters to speak for themselves. I liked it.