"Britain, early tenth century AD: a time of change. There are new raids by the Vikings from Ireland, and turmoil among the Saxons over the leadership of Mercia. A younger generation is taking over. Æthelred, the ruler of Mercia, is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. The West Saxons want their king, but Uhtred has long supported Æthelflaed, sister to King Edward of Wessex and widow of Æthelred. Widely loved and respected, Æthelflaed has all the makings of a leader--but could Saxon warriors ever accept a woman as their ruler? The stage is set for rivals to fight for the empty throne."--Page  of cover.