Having fled from Constantinople, Raef Corbanson and his companions--Lief the Icelander, and Laissa, the young girl who they rescued from Constantinople--are cast up on shore in Normandy. Their goal is to return to Raef's home in the Viking town of Jorvik in England. Raef is back in his home territory, and his old friend and shipmate Sweyn Forkbeard is now King of Denmark--and soon to overthrow King Ethelred II of England. Raef's connections throw him into the middle of the struggle between Sweyn, Ethelred, and Ethelred's son Edward. Raef becomes foster father of Sweyn's son Knut…who will become known as King Canute when he in turn takes the throne of England.