The outlaw Eustace Folville returns, sword in one hand and bow in the other, to claim the rewards he believes are his...
Life has not been kind to Eustace Folville since the fall from power of his patrons, Mortimer and Isabella. Ambushed and almost murdered in his home, he decides the time has come to gather together the most dangerous outlaws in England and strike at the heart of law and government.
"My lord," the soft, careful voice of John Innocent, one of his chief clerks, interrupted these contented thoughts. "My lord, there are men in the woods."
Willoughby glanced at him in annoyance, squinting as rain dripped from his hood into his eyes. "What?" he snapped.
The clerk's round, pox-marked face looked worried, which was unusual. Innocent was a slow and steady character, the sort that Willoughby appreciated, and not the sort to jump at nothing.
"Men in the woods, my lord," he repeated, "either side of us. Look!"
Alarmed by his tone, Willoughby looked, and saw that the woods, bare, damp and lifeless the last time he checked, were now thronged with horsemen. The account-book in his mind swiftly counted fifty-seven of them, and noted that each man was heavily armed.
He weighed the odds. He had eighteen men in his retinue, most of them clerks, save for five men-at-arms he had hired as an escort in Leicester. His clerks were armed with daggers and wore no armour.
These facts equalled only two possible outcomes: slaughter or surrender. Willoughby sighed, and raised his thin hand to signal his men to halt.
The horsemen in the woods closed in.
- Word Count: 5,000
- Author: David Pilling
- Website: David Pilling
- ISBN: 978-1-61937-133-0
- Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
- Editor: Erica Mills