Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can't believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a strong and steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family, nor Walter's care, can seem to save her.
Many years later Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.
Harold, Duke of Wessex, takes the English throne, despite Edward the Confessor's wish that William Duke of Normandy should be his heir. Seeking retribution, William sails to England and heads his troops towards Hastings, where the battle eventually concludes with Harold's death by an arrow shot to the eye. Poetry and prose are interspersed with war correspondent-style reports on the action. As the royal dukes ponder their lot, assorted commoners of the day discuss fear, heroism and grief.
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