Beobrand is compelled by his brother's almost-certain murder to embark on a quest for revenge in the war-ravaged kingdoms of Northumbria. The land is rife with danger, as warlords vie for supremacy and dominion. In the battles for control of the region, new oaths are made and broken, and loyalties are tested to the limits. With no patronage and no experience, Beobrand must form his own allegiances and learn to fight with sword and shield. Relentless in pursuit of his enemies, he faces challenges which transform him from a boy to a man.
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Warlords battle across Britain to become the first king of the English. After a stunning victory against the native Waelisc, Beobrand returns a hero. His valour is rewarded with wealth and land by Oswald, king of Northumbria. He retires to his new estate with his bride only to find himself surrounded by enemies old and new. With treachery and death on all sides, Beobrand fears he will lose all he holds dear. On a quest for revenge and redemption, he accepts the mantle of lord, leading his men into the darkest of nights and the bloodiest of battles.
Oswald is now King of Northumbria. However, his plans for further alliances and conquests are quickly thrown into disarray when his wedding to a princess of Wessex is interrupted by news of a Pictish uprising. Rushing north, Oswald leaves Beobrand to escort the young queen to her new home. Their path is fraught with danger and uncertainty, Beobrand must try to unravel secrets and lies if they are to survive. Meanwhile, old enemies are closing in, seeking brutal revenge.