Wessex lay bleeding under onslaughts from the sea rovers, the Danes. Battle with the ""Winged Hats"" held no terrors for young Sturia Thordesen for he would gladly spill his Viking blood to follow the Atheling, Prince Alfred. But after the long sieges of Ashdown, Wareham and Exeter were past, and the Danish leader Guthrum's repeated treacheries had been forgiven by Alfred, Sturla's loyalty was sorely tested when he faced the ""dread horrors of learning"". Set in 78 A.D., this is a panoramic view of Britain lately pagan, looking over its shoulder at Odin and forward toward Christ, with a close-up of the king who learned to read between battles, then brought varied and desperate forces together in learning, peace and charity. Success in a new field for Erick Berry.