It begins-- ""I, Alfred the One-legged...being now an old man,"" and continues in the tradition of the most ancient storytellers to celebrate the victories of a king and the miracles of the holy. Set in the days of King Alfred, his name-sake grew up, in spite of the constant Danish war parties descending on East Anglia and in spite of his amputated leg, to become a trusted secretary to the King. The Danes were all, ""Cut, sack, burn, drink and swipe,"" so the war orphaned Alfred lived with monks and left with them when their monastery was pillaged. The depth of early Christian faith was continually overshadowed by the not wholly abandoned superstitions. The crippled boy fought to conquer his disability and serve as a scribe to the King who shared his name. The dialogue is heroic and the descriptions of battles and raids have visual impact. A vividly detailed recreation of a brutal time with action, adventure and history to hold the boys in thrall.