Anno Domini 1040. Christianity has swept unstoppably across Scandinavia, leaving few enclaves of the old ways clinging on to their fading world as King Olof of Sweden works to convert his people.
A young warrior, Halfdan, has witnessed the ‘mercy’ of the Christian lords, watched his people attacked, his village burned and the Odin stone toppled as heretical. Watched his father cut down by an ambitious Christian jarl and his zealous priest. Among the ashes of his world he vowed an oath of vengeance before all the gods.
That oath will bring together an unlikely band of allies and carry them to the very edge of the world, fighting giants, dragons and wraiths, in pursuit of his father’s killer: Yngvar.
The jarl is powerful, and the weaving of Fate difficult, but the blood price must be paid.
Read more about the bizarre world of Viking sagas, runes and archaeology in Simon’s Historia feature, Vikings in Georgia: history or myth?
And if you’re a fan of Simon’s Roman books, have a look at his review of the current Nero exhibition at the British Museum. He’s also written A game of gods: religion in a changing Roman world with his Rise of Emperors co-author, Gordon Doherty, for Historia.