Convinced he is cursed, Erlan Aurvandil has turned his back on his native Northern lands. In search of freedom, he embarks on a perilous trip to Byzantium, the greatest city in the world.
But as his voyage ends, Erlan is brutally betrayed and sold into slavery to a powerful Byzantine general.
Meanwhile, Lilla Sviggarsdottír, Queen of Svealand, has lost her husband – and with him her kingdom. Fleeing for her life, Lilla journeys east on a new quest: to find Erlan and raise an army mighty enough to defeat her usurper.
But, on reaching Byzantium, Lilla discovers a dark tide is rising against the Emperor, both outside the city walls and within his own court. As the whispers of war grow ever louder, both her and Erlan’s fate become entwined with that of the city.
Are they doomed to fall, or can freedom be won in the fierce heat of battle?