This is a tale of passionate romance, adventure, and treachery, ranging from England to Denmark, then through the river system of old Russia to Constantinople and the sly, dangerous intrigues of the great, golden city of Greece. It’s also the story of a long-standing, bitter feud between two brothers and of the brave woman who is caught between them.
Abducted from their English home by Snorri the Viking, Lenora and her friend, Edwina, are taken to Denmark and given as slaves, Lenora to Snorri’s brother, Erik, and Edwina to their father, Thorkell.
The strife between the brothers quickly becomes obvious to Lenora. Snorri is muscular, blond and bearded, loves to go a-raiding, to fight, drink, and ravish women, and he despises his half-brother. Erik is tall, dark, sleekly muscled, emotionally controlled, and intelligent, with a slight limp from an old battle injury inflicted while he was in Constantinople. Thorkell uses him as a secretary, to keep his ledgers.
Lenora loathes Snorri because he killed her family and destroyed her home. She yearns for vengeance and to escape her slavery. Still, Thorkell is a kind man and Erik is romantically intriguing. Just as the girls are settling into a new life and Lenora has begun to care deeply for Erik, Thorkell dies and Edwina is chosen as the sacrifice at his funeral. Nothing Lenora says or does can save her, and Edwina seems strangely content with her fate. At the funeral feast, when Snorri provokes a serious quarrel with Erik, and Erik decides to leave for Constantinople, Lenora goes with him.
But Snorri follows, tracking the two along the river trade routes to Kiev and onward, to fabled Constantinople. For his own pleasure Snorri takes an Irish slave, Maura. During the long and dangerous journey, after one of many skirmishes with Snorri, the traumatized Maura joins Erik and Lenora.
Once the three reach Constantinople, Erik’s old friend, Basil, welcomes them and soon becomes involved with Maura, who feels safe confined within the city walls. But Basil’s sister, Eirena, wants to marry Erik. Intrigues abound, especially after Snorri reaches the city and the scheming Eirena invites him to her brother’s house, hoping he will kill Lenora. Betrayal and violence seem inevitable. Erik and Lenora, now passionate lovers, must find a way to save themselves.