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Fourteenth-century Italy: a country in upheaval as desperate cities struggle against both each other and venal Papal rule. Unable to rely on their own citizens to fight their battles, cities and Popes are forced to pay vast amounts of money to mercenary captains to fight on their behalf.Hawkwood, a valiant Englishman, shrewd and relentless on the battlefield, finds himself fighting for and against any state of Italy prepared to pay handsomely. If none will pay, he and the White Company brutally seize what they desire. It is a world of massacre and pillage in which life is less than cheap and no one can be trusted. To survive, a man has to be quick-thinking, fleet of foot and strong in his sword arm: Hawkwood is such a man.