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“War-wolf horrid, at Heorot found a warrior watching and waiting the fray” – Beowulf.

The War Wolf opens in January 1066 when Eorl Harold Godwinson of Wessex takes the crown from the dying King of England. He is not alone in his ambition, however. Across the sea the Duke of Normandy gathers an army to him underneath a papal banner, accusing Harold of breaking a holy oath to support the Norman claim to the throne.

An invasion follows but it is not in the south of England where the conqueror sets foot but in Notrhumbria. King Haradrada of Norway lands the largest Viking army ever seen in Britain and with his ally Tostig Godwinson, the exiled brother of King Harold of England, steals the initiative by attacking York.

The young brothers, Eorl Edwin of Mercia and Eorl Morcar of Northumbria, see a chance to eclipse the mighty Godwins in battle by meeting the Vikings on a bloody field. Coenred, their Captain of Huscarls, counsels otherwise. His warriror’s wisdom tells him to bar the gates of York and man the walls with their Saxon army but Edwin and Morcar cannot resist the promise of glory. Their fateful decision will set in motion a series of events that will threaten the world of the Saxons, beginning with the Battle of Fulford Gate. Coenred must obey his lords but his thoughts of late are of hanging up his gold decorated sword and retiring to his estate with the beautiful widow Mildryth; can he rise to be the best of warriors and survive an epic clash, sword to sword, with the War Wolf himself?

“Some with the morrow his sword should kill, some should go to the gallows-tree for rapture of ravens.” – Beowulf.

In the aftermath of the fall of York Northumbria reels. The army of the north is destoryed, the eorls fled, only Coenred and a small but determined war-band refuse to give up hope.

King Harold realises perhaps too late, that his hold upon the crown is being challenged for real in the north of his kingdom.

Together King Hardrada of Norway and Tostig Godwinson the traitor consolidate their hold on the country, confident that theirs is the position of strength.

Inside the captured city Mildryth finds life for a lone woman has its’ risks under the rule of the Norse, but she is determined to survive, for Coenred and for her friend Branda who must come to terms with losing her husband at the ill-fated battle; like so many other Saxon women.

Revenge for the Saxons begins with the storming of York under the fighting man banner of King Harold of England. Coenred must lead his formidable huscarls against their ancient enemy, knowing all the while that the woman he loves lives in the hands of that same foe. He has survived one great battle, will fate allow him to escape with his life at the second great conflict of 1066; the Battle of Stamford Bridge?! The only truth is that the field of battle will be littered with the bodies of the dead; food For the Rapture of Ravens.

“For shelter he gave them, sword-death came, the blade's fell blow” – Beowulf.

What greater glory can a Saxon know than the defeat of the greatest living Viking, the protection of his people assured, the waning of autumn into winter, and beginning of peace. King Harold basks in his hard won triumph, happy to give his warriors a chance to rest and heal.

Mildryth rejoices to be reunited with her lover once more, but fate has exacted a heavy price and she fears that Coenred might be taken away from her by the wealth and glory offered to him in recognition of his loyalty and bravery, an offer made by the king himself for Coenred to become a royal companion!

For the Duke of Normandy what events have occurred to take King Harold away from the south of England remain a mystery to him as he finally sets foot on hostile land. All he knows is that time is running short and if he is to make the most of his one opportunity then he must call King Harold to battle on a field of his own choosing, then he might remove the crown from the Saxon warrior-king and claim England for his own with The Blade’s Fell Blow.

The Sorrow Song Trilogy © 2013 Peter C. Whitaker. All Rights Reserved.