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In the year of Our Lord 1191, when Richard, the Lion-Heart, set forth to drive the infidels from the Holy Land, he gave the Regency of his Kingdom to his trusted friend, Longchamp, instead of to his treacherous brother, Prince John. Bitterly resentful, John hoped for some disaster to befall Richard so that he, with the help of the Norman barons, might seize the throne for himself.

But Prince John's reign became even more murderous. Terror spread among the helpless Saxons who knew that resistance meant death. Soon death became preferable to oppression and the defiant oath became more than a thing of words.

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