The fate of a new nation rests in the hands of a reluctant warrior in this thrilling sixth volume in the acclaimed New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales series. As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies 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 and castle in the north. As the king's warrior, he is duty-bound, but Alfred's reign is nearing its end, and Uhtred has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Despite his long years of service, Uhtred is still loath to commit to the old king's Saxon cause of a united and Christian England. Now he must make a momentous decision, one that will forever transform his life... and the course of history: take up arms--and Alfred's mantle--or lay down his sword and allow the dream of a unified kingdom to fall into oblivion.