Randall has little recollection of his parents. His Saxon mother died in childbirth, his Norman father fighting the Welsh. He has grown accustomed to buffets and beatings at the hands of the various servants at Arundel castle and takes comfort in the companionship of the dogs he tends in the kennels. Nearly ten, he expects that the arrival of Hugh Goch, the new lord of the manor, will have little effect on his life. When he accidently drops his half-eaten fig on the nose of Goch’s horse, however, his life does indeed change.
Saved from Goch’s severe punishment by the kindness of a traveling minstrel, Randal is sent to live with Sir Everard d’Aiguillon and his grandson Bevis. Randal and Bevis become close friends. They share everything, including their training as squires. Randal knows he can never become a knight as Bevis will. To become a knight, one must have the means of paying one’s overlord a knight’s fee. Just the same, Randal is content to remain Bevis’ squire forever and demonstrates his loyalty to the d’Aiguillon household.
Rosemary Sutcliff has woven a story of a young man’s search for purpose with the intricacies of British history. Knight’s Fee portrays the political intrigue surrounding William the Conqueror’s sons and the faithfulness of a young man who never forgets a debt. In spite of his difficult childhood, Randal acquires the virtues necessary to do what is right, even when it may cost him great loss. Sutcliff’s descriptions of the story’s setting and characters as well as her clever turns of plot will hold the reader’s interest until the last page.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.