An entertaining romp rendered in slightly schizophrenic fashion by Conan Doyle, who at times strikes the pose of a contemporary bard and devotee of chivalry, at times an arch modern commentator. The book always seems to be on the point of denouncing the farce of knight errantry and the hero's boyish enthusiasm to "worshipfully advance his worship" through quixotically endangering himself and all around him- but never quite comes clean and does it. At the same time there are some interesting reflections on the plight of the civilian population in a (theoretically) chivalrous war, which seem to take on board the lessons of the (much later) Thirty Years War. Ultimately though, the wretched civilians here seem to be regarded as legitimate grist to the knights' courtly mill. The central love story is a non-event, straight out of courtly cliche and far from qualifying for the Canterbury Tales, and Nigel himself is over-shadowed by grim realist Sir Robert Knolles- who wouldn't be out of place in Blackhawk Down or Saving Private Ryan!
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