Wales, 1176: in a rain-drenched outpost of Christendom, a great lord is throwing a party in his newly-built fortress, the like of which has never been seen before. It will be a contest of song, of poetry and of music: open to all comers. And now all are coming. The generous rewards that victory promises attract a strange assortment of individuals from across the known world - some famous, some frightening - including an enigmatic late entrant newly-arrived from Persia, who claims to have written the most beautiful words ever committed to parchment but has something more sinister to hide.
Attempting to hold their own against such supreme talent are hopeful young songster Avery and his travelling companion Dog, a cantankerous but talented musician.
These clashing personalities are pitched on collision course in the castle of a man whose motives run far deeper than that of benevolent host. But the contest can only take place if the contestants arrive - which, on the perilous roads of Wales, is far from certain...
Luke Waterson's compelling novel relates the gripping tale of the charismatic players and intrigues of the very first Eisteddfod, still Europe's largest competitive festival of poetry and music to this day.