Tale is told by Uhtred, as if its happening now, with a few lines of ‘but back then I was only twenty-one. Now I know better.”
The Danes already fought their way from the north to nearly the northern tip of Angle-land, which is actually Angles & Saxon land, with only East Anglia still Angles? And under the Dane-law. Then there’s South-Saex (Sussex) and East-Saex (Essex), also under the Dane-Law.
King Alfred of West-Saex thinks his truce will hold, and our pagan hero Uhtred thinks he’s an idiot. “Truce” is just another word for “time to re-arm and gather allies.”
Uhtred is bored with his Christian wife who just wants peace and tranquility, so he takes a wild woman for a lover. (Lover from previous book has gone off with someone else.) Iseult is technically a captive queen, but since she used her magic to help Uhtred kill her husband, not so much of a captive.
Wife is boring and stays on the farm while Uhtred goes to meet Alfred and off to war. Lots of magic (seems to work?) and Seeing Signs that point to Alfred as the success. Ragnar from last book should have been killed (again) but not.
Last book had a Hild as someone’s nasty aunt, this book has Hild as a nun, so I feel totally justified at pushing “Hild” by Nicola Griffith, possibly one of the best historical fiction ever.