King Naresuan the Great is rightly regarded by the people of Thailand as their national hero. Born in provincial Phitsanulok on the northern border of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, he lived through one of the most turbulent times in South-East Asian history.King Naresuan led his country from being subjugated as a vassal state of the Toungoo Empire to one that declared independence and fought to remain free. In declaring independence King Naresuan established the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, the foundation of modern day Thailand. Taken to Hongsawadee (modern day Burma) as a hostage, Prince Naret (the young King Naresuan) grew up under the watchful eye of King Bayinnaung, "The Conqueror of Ten Directions." The Toungoo Empire reached its peak under King Bayinnaung and encompassed all of modern day Burma, Thailand, Laos and reaching as far north as the Chinese border of the Ming dynasty. The novel follows Prince Naret through his early years, his return from Hongsawadee and his actions in freeing Ayutthaya from under the yoke of the Burmese until his death on campaign in 1605. The history of this epic period of South-East Asian history is little known outside the region. Armies of a million men, the impact of the Europeans, shifting alliances and personal feuds all enliven the story. The novel blends historical accuracy with the life and the legend of King Naresuan the Great and endeavors to put the tumultuous events of the period in context.