The story of how two seventh century Anglo Saxon princes win back the kingdom of Northumbria.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Christian Europe becomes a very dangerous place indeed. God's punishment for the sin of hubris, how can such a shattered world be repaired?
The children of King Aethelfrith of Northumbria (hammer of the north) have to flee for their lives on the death of their father in an ambush. Their mother; a formidable woman in any century; takes them to the monastic island of Iona, where they are to be brought up as Christians. Political pawns of Irish and Dalradian Scots chieftains. A special teacher for these boys is called for. He must knock the paganism out of them, yet teach them warcraft and how to be kings. A young Irish monk, a prince in his own right, is dispatched to Iona as tutor. Aidan, later to become Saint Aidan, and without doubt the architect of a European renaissance.
First however, the boys have to win back the kingdom of Northumbria. Not an easy task when it means doing battle with the likes of Cadwallon and Penda.