At the foot of the grey stone steps, Con O’Toole, tall, thin and worn, though only twenty-three, removed his cap. His eyes burned with happiness; for life – his life – had returned to Merlin. As his master stepped from the car, out tumbled also Robin, the little boy who had meant so much to him in recent years.
In the weeks of Robin’s absence, Con, the simple youth, a tenant of great Merlin, had changed more than he dared to realise. Each day, during the long summer of 1920, had strengthened the bands of resistance against the bondage of suppression. Centuries of an unaccepted overlordship were being rolled back by the diehards and fanatics, and in their wake came Con; for Con was ensnared in the ‘Fight for Freedom’, so soon to echo round the world of those that cared and to be written off by the rest in a masterpiece of understatement as ‘the troubles’. Con had been recruited by Martin McCarthy.