The seventh book in the (main) Earls of Mercia series.
England, November 1035. Cnut, the Danish king of England, is dead, his son and chosen heir, Harthacnut, fighting for the survival of Denmark against Magnus, usurper of Cnut’s eldest son’s rule of Norway. Cnut’s Northern Empire of England, Denmark, Norway and Sweden is fragmented and in turmoil, and that’s before news of his death even spreads. The queen dowager, Lady Emma, has the support of Earl Godwine to rule until her son, Harthacnut, can come to England to claim his inheritance. But there are problems. No one knows how long it will take Harthacnut to regain control of his father’s Viking Empire, and the English will not allow themselves to be left abandoned in the meantime. Earl Leofric of Mercia, has long been an ally of Cnut’s, but not always an ally of his wife, the queen dowager. And more, Cnut made concessions for his other surviving son, the result of his union with Lady Ælfgifu of Northampton in Mercia, and Earl Leofric must honour those, despite the queen dowager’s determination to ignore the son’s existence. As England once more faces the threat of external attack, should Magnus prevail in Denmark, Earl Leofric has important decisions to make. He has a long held grudge to settle with Earl Godwine of Wessex, Cnut’s much-favoured earl, while ensuring his own family’s survival. Earl Leofric is the only truly English Earl within England and Mercia is his to command. And the queen dowager should never be overlooked. In power for her entire adult life, she is desperate to retain her hold on the network of prestige she controls, little caring who she endangers along the way. The queen dowager has twice been England’s queen. She has always had more than the one son she shared with Cnut, and her older sons are keen to exercise their own claim to wear England’s crown. Harald, son of Cnut and Ælfgifu, Harthacnut, son of Cnut and Lady Emma, Edward and Alfred, sons of Lady Emma and King Æthelred II; four men with an equal, and valid claim to the English kingdom, but there is only one kingdom available. Who will prevail? This is the seventh book in the Earls of Mercia series (main series), charting the history of the House of Leofwine, the only noble family to hold power for over a century in the turbulent final years of Anglo-Saxon England, a feat not even accomplished by the ruling English House of Wessex or the ruling Danish/English House of Swein Forkbeard. The Earls of Mercia Series Reading Order Viking Sword Viking Enemy Northman Part 1 Swein: The Danish King (side story) Northman Part 2 Wulfstan: An Anglo-Saxon Thegn (side story) The King's Earl Cnut: The Conqueror (side story) The Earl of Mercia The English Earl