As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lays dying; his dream of a unified England in danger and his kingdom on the brink of chaos. While his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north.
Uhtred, the Saxon-born, Viking-raised warrior, whose life seems to shadow the making of England itself, is torn between his vows to Alfred and his desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands in the north. Now, he must make a momentous decision that will forever transform his life . . . and the course of history: take up arms and Alfred's mantle or lay his sword down and let the dream of a unified kingdom fall into oblivion."