Thunder claps roar and Odin’s ravens fly. Fearsome dragonships set sail – and the kingdoms of Western Europe hold their breath. Warriors of Thor are on the move. By the mid-ninth century, raids along Anglo-Saxon coasts by the pagan Danes have escalated, and as the raiders become bolder, attacks move deeper and deeper inland. Several bands even dare to overwinter on the coastal islands, particularly those at the mouth of the Thames, where the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia border each other.
After three hundred years of bitter conflict over supremacy, the kings of these kingdoms are ready to put past enmity aside and take the first steps towards unity; steps they see as vital in the face of this newfound threat to their lands . . . Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia are the sons of kings, their roles in life already charted. But the turbulent events in their childhood years change the natural progression of things – and determine the characters of the men they will become.
Their roads to manhood follow vastly different routes: Eadwulf as a thrall in a pagan land; Alfred at his father’s court, and subsequently, those of his older brothers. But both learn crucial lessons along the way. Discovering that the enemy is not always a stranger is a harsh lesson indeed; the realisation that a trusted kinsman can turn traitor is the harshest lesson of all.
The story takes us from the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex to the Norse lands stretching north from Denmark to the Arctic Circle and east to the Baltic Sea. We glimpse the Court of Charles the Bald of West Francia and journey to the holy city of Rome. Through it all, the two boys move ever closer to their destinies.
Millie Thom is a former geography and history teacher with a degree in geology and a particular passion for the Anglo-Saxon and Viking period.
Originally from Lancashire she is a mother of six grown up children and now lives with her husband in a small village in Nottinghamshire, midway between the town of Newark and the lovely old city of Lincoln.
When not writing, Millie enjoys long walks and is a serious fossil hunter. She is also an avid traveller, swimmer and baker of cakes.