A fearsome father. A scheming mother. Three sons battling for attention. YoiTre cordially invited to attend their seasonal family reunion. But this is 1183, an era of barbarians, and this family is histoiy. In the waning years of his life, but no less brutal for it. King Henry II (Patrick Stewart) is holding Christmas court at Chinon, during which he'll announce the blood successor to his throne. Assembled for this event are his equally calculating wife, Eleanoi of Acquitaine (Glenn Close), imprisoned for ten years by her husband for a political coup of her own; his shamelessly flaunted mistress, Alais (Julia Vysotskaia), and her venomous brother, King Philip of France (Jonathan Rhys Meyers); and Hemy's three sons. Prince Richard the Lionhearted (Andrew Howard), who can't fathom the depth of leadership, the shallow Prince Geoffrey (John Light), and the luckless and bumbling Prince John (Rafe Spall). What the three siblings share is a gift for treachery. After all, they were taught by masters. Richard, Geoffrey, and John prepare to engage in their own brand of deception to stake their claim. But as this unique celebration gets underway, it degenerates into an emotional gauntlet for everyone. More than a temperamental war of words - those alone will be sharp enough to draw blood - it becomes an exorcism of, deep-rooted failures and long-held resentments as pretensions and inner demons are shrewdly stripped away. Before the holiday is over, not only will a marriage, a love affair, a family, and an empire be in jeopardy, but lives as well, as Henry mercilessly wields the authority that has made him the greatest and most dangerous power in a thousand years.