Geoffrey Hotspur dreams of knighthood. As an English orphan-squire bonded to the court of Sir John of Gaunt, uncle of the English King Richard II, his prospects are few.
An inveterate gambler already deep in debt, young Geoffrey eagerly accepts an invitation to participate in a raid on French lands. However, his plans go awry after a deadly street brawl results in his banishment from court. As further punishment, he is ordered to join a royal commission bound for Florence.
Accompanied by Jean Lagoustine, a mysterious Frenchman whose intentions towards the young squire are not all they appear to be, the ship upon which they journey is waylaid by corsairs. The unlikely duo must navigate the war-torn lands of the Patrimony and the intricacies of honour and allegiance.
Intrigue and betrayal dominate the war between the two popes, and the young squire's understanding of faith and fidelity are soon challenged. The need to do right inspires Geoffrey to take a personal stake in the outcome of the conflict.
With little more than his wits and a sword, the young squire must find a way to fulfill his duty to his lord, to his faith and to himself. As the war culminates in an epic final battle for the throne of St. Peter, will Geoffrey find that a knighthood is worth the risk to his honour?
The Christian Crusades against the Saracen ‘heathens’ are on hold after its chief instrument of missionary and military zeal, the Order of the Knights Templar, have been discredited and disbanded. But the threat remains.
Amid an atmosphere of suspicion, representatives of the warring kings of England and France meet to try to agree a truce and ‘take up the Cross’ together against a common heathen enemy.
Lancastrian noble John of Gaunt is the English side’s negotiator and aspiring knight Hotspur is there trying to prove his worth as guardian of one of the duke’s prized sacred relics – the Finger of St Bernard of Clairvaux, a French monk and fervent promoter of the Second Crusade. It’s an age where the owners of such grisly remains are thereby believed to be endowed with superhuman powers.
Like many a red-blooded young man, Geoffrey aspires to join the courtly circle with its entourage of beautiful women – and is soon seduced by the physical charms of Inge, the handmaiden of a powerful French lady.
But of course there’s more to siren Inge than meets the eye – and Geoffrey quickly finds out she’s on a mission which could wreck his ambitions.
Wandering into the midst of the many warring factions comes young English would-be knight Geoffrey Hotspur and his crafty French criminal manservant, Jean de la Langoustine, a debt collector for the notorious Gamesmaster.
The hapless Quixote–like pair stumble from mishap to disaster as Hotspur pursues his ever–pressing dream of becoming a fully-fledged knight fit to fight in the Crusades. His big chance comes when he becomes embroiled with the court of the child ruler Niccolo d’Este, who is thrust into power when his father, the popular Alberto, unexpectedly dies and leaves him too young to rule on his own.
It is left to the naïve and unbloodied Geoffrey to escort Niccolo to safety through the battlefields and stave off the warlords and family rivals determined to kill and replace the young ruler.
Of Fathers and Sons is an exciting tale of knights, courtesans and villains built around the Battle of Portomaggiore, waged in the muddy marshes of a snowbound northern Italy in the late fourteenth century.
Unable to secure a knighthood in Italy, the squire Geoffrey Hotspur sees his chance when the Pope declares a crusade against the Turks, who are mancing the last remnants of the Eastern Roman Empire. He rounds up a company of his own and through dubious channels of financing makes passage to the crusading army mustering in Hungary.
However, Geoffrey encounters an old flame, a girl from his days as a page in the court of Gaunt, whose charater appears to be less than stable. Yet, her passion for the war against Turks is too attractive for Geoffrey to ignore, while the company's hard-pressed quartermaster, Jean Lagoutine, has his suspicions.
But when the tables are turned and it is the valiant squire who finds himself in dire peril, the true charater of his companions are forced to the surface.