Cerdic is the nephew of a great warrior who died a hero of the Anglo-Saxon country of Deira. Growing up in a quiet village, he dreams of the glories of battle and of one day writing his name into the sagas. He experiences the true horrors of war, however, when his home is attacked, his sister kidnapped, his family betrayed and his uncle's legendary sword stolen.
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The Battle of Catraeth has been won and Cerdic's homeland is safe... but for how long? The Northern British were crushed but yet more enemies have risen to replace them. Soon Cerdic and his friends must go to war again - against the Scots and Picts north of Hadrian's wall. He goes to help his country's allies - the Bernicians - under their great warlord, Aethelfrith.