Terman is shipwrecked on  gentle seashore, and believes he has found a land of myth, but instead finds a people beset by the most basic of problems, problems it seems that he is uniquely equipped to solve. The peasants of Albion are in thrall to the ruling House of Ellon, against whose repression they have no redress. They have no long term memory and rely on instinct to get them through each day.Until Mina brings Terman home from the beach. He finds that naming the villagers gives them the ability to remember each day as it happens, to recall the position of their fields and what crops grow there, to recognise their friends and remember the dead. He hates the raids of the Ellonia and their taking of food and women, yet he is only one man against many. But Lian, child of Terman and Mina has inherited his father’s gift of memory and uses it to begin  freeing his people from Ellonian rule, beginning with half a dozen ill-equipped warriors.  But as he travels to the Ellonian stronghold, more are drawn to him until the Despot is forced to respond