A tale of war, death, lust, and scheming, set in the starkly beautiful landscapes of medieval Ireland and Wales.
Robert FitzStephen is a warrior down on his luck. Arrogant, cold, but a brilliant soldier, FitzStephen commands a castle – yet although his mother was a princess his father was a lowly steward. When a Welsh rebellion brings defeat and a crippling siege, his highborn comrades scorn him, betraying him to the enemy. A hostage of his cousin, Prince Rhys, FitzStephen is disgraced, seemingly doomed to a life of obscurity and shame.
Then King Diarmait arrives …
Diarmait is the ambitious overlord of an Irish kingdom. Forced to flee by the High King of Ireland, he seeks to reclaim his lands by any means possible – and that includes inviting the Normans in. With nothing left to lose – and perhaps a great deal to gain – FitzStephen agrees to lead the Irishman’s armies, and to drive Diarmait’s enemies from his kingdom. His price? Acceptance, perhaps … or perhaps a kingdom of his own?
Butler’s debut novel, Swordland is a powerful, impeccably researched story of medieval Celtic life, of the loves, losses, and hatreds of some of the most important figures in Irish and British history.
Superbly researched and thrillingly told, Swordland is a vivid portrait of the ferocious but godly Normans as they rampage through Wales and Ireland. Writing in a lucid, descriptive style that brings to life landscapes, characters and battles, Butler delights in a narrative that blazes with intrigue and spine-chilling bloody action, while still managing to weave themes of religious affiliation, kinship, and questions over birthright like golden threads in a medieval tapestry.
Anthony Quinn, critically acclaimed author of Disappeared