In the 10th century, before the conquering Viking Sitric settled in Ireland as King of Dublin, the entire north was a welter of warlords, Brit, Celt and Viking, vying for power and land through alliances and wars. Bergith came to the Celt castle of Kolaren as the only surviving Viking captive of a raid on her Viking village. To protect her from a harsh, cruel castle, the warlord's Lady Nelda dressed her in boy's clothing, called her Einar and gave her a small harp which she learned to play well.
Nelda met a brutal end at the hands of her warlord, but three years later he died and their oldest son, Dovan, a formidable and much smarter warrior became warlord. Almost at once Kolaren was attacked, and Lord Dovan sent Einar to spy out which of two enemies he was facing.
A singer of songs was always welcome in a castle, so Einar became her warlord's spy as he waged war and fell in love, but not with Bergith, for life is seldom so simple, and her fate in that world of intrigue and violence lay along a different path.