'Loyalty within me lieth',
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This review is from: Knight's Fee (Paperback)
I first read this book as a kid and my copy remains on my bookshelf to this day. I bought this copy for a friend who, browsing through my books, was taken aback that Rosemary Sutcliff had written a book about the Normans and wanted to borrow it - NO!
The story is this: an Anglo-Saxon dog boy, Randal, inadvertantly causes a powerful lord's destrier to rear and almost throw him. Over a game of chess to determine the boy's fate, the lord's minstrel wins the boy and entrusts him to the Lord of Dean. Growing up with Bevis, the Lord of Dean's grandson, they become blood brothers - training together in arms. Randal's nature means that his love can never be bought, but once given it will never be taken away or diminish in any degree. Randal's whole existence is centred on serving Bevis as his squire, and keeping all that belongs to the Lord of Dean safe.
I won't go further with the story, except to say that at the end Randal again pledges his allegiance and begins a new life journey.
The theme of the story harks back to the days when a vassal willingly knelt before his/her lord, placed his/her hands - as though praying - between those of his/her lord and took a sacred oath "... I do become your liege man of life and limb ...". Understand that that oath was sincere and binding and you will love this book.