The Little Duke The main character is Richard Duke of Normandy, the great grandfather of William the Conqueror. At the beginning of the tale he is a boy of eight, who succeeds to the dukedom when his father is murdered in 943 A. D. His overlord King Louis carries the boy off to the French court. There his life seems to be in danger, and he is rescued by his faithful squire and returns to Normandy. The book continues with an account of the subsequent struggle between the Normans and French. It concludes with a summary of Richard's life, stressing his magnanimity.