The impetus for this story with its historical setting was a reference made in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle to some messengers sent by King Alfred in 883 to the shrine of St. Thomas in India. The colorful journey to the East is traced through the adventures of young Eric and his brother Olaf, sons of a Norse chieftain who had been killed in the Saxon invasions. The boys had taken part in the Christian baptism and were sent to the court of King Alfred. The descriptions of their life in the early medieval court, their participation in the ancient rituals, and their trip which brought them to Rome, Egypt, across the Red Sea and into India form an intriguing panorama. The story line is slight but the author has drawn on some good sources to create a fascinating setting.