by Ruadh Butler
Beneath the warhorses' hooves, a nation will fall.
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.