Had O’Duffy used a pseudonym on the title page of The Lion and the Fox, no one would ever have attributed the book to him. It is, as he says, a swashbuckling historical novel, full of battles, romance and intrigue, and quite unlike anything else he ever wrote.
The voices of three of the riders rang out cheerfully in this lonely waste. The fourth, a man of slight build and stature, with somewhat sharp features, a pale complexion, hair of indeterminate colour, and hard grey eyes, wearing a doublet and cloak of sober hue and simple cut, rode a short distance ahead of the others. He was older than they—well advanced in the thirties—and had matters, perhaps, to think upon which did not well consort with their gay and careless chatter. Some hundreds of yards from the forest, however, he reined in his horse— as unobtrusive an animal as its master—and waited for them to approach.