Cast of Characters

Appendix I Glossary

Appendix II History Timeline

Appendix III Map of Ambrose's Journey

Appendix IV About the Author

Appendix V Other books by Bruce Corbett 


AMBROSE: (Fictitious) Anglo-Saxon bastard prince of Wessex, he is but a youngster when he is taken captive in a Viking raid. In turn, he is slave to Canute the Dane, and then trader for Gunnar of the Rus Vikings. After considerable adventures, Ambrose helps establish a trading station in Kiev.

A wrong to some Varangian traders in the Byzantine Empire causes the call for Vikings up and down the Russian river systems to gather their weapons and sail south in the spring. Ambrose, Phillip and Polonius join this Varangian expedition, and camp for some weeks right outside the gates of Constantinople itself.

Ambrose is sent back the following spring as emissary for the rulers of Kiev, who, having looted much of the Byzantine Empire, are now prepared to negotiate. After many further adventures, Ambrose returns to Constantinople, where he is seduced by a wanton woman of the court. After discovering that he is part of a plot to kill the Emperor, Ambrose and his party flee the Empire and start towards Wessex.

ANNA: (Fictitious) A young Saxon slave of Canute's, she is Ambrose's first lover. As she is pregnant, Ambrose is forced to leave her behind when he flees after saving Phillip’s life.

ASKOLD: He, with his cousin Dir, are the Rus leaders who left Novgorod to settle at Kiev, a town they feel will be best able to control the southern Russian-Byzantine river trade. Under their inspired leadership the Dnieper River region comes under their control, and they participate in an attack on Constantinople itself. After the attack, in an attempt to end the hostilities, they appoint Ambrose ambassador and send him to negotiate with the Byzantine Emperor.

AODH: (Fictitious) One of the three young factors hired for the Kiev trading factory.

BASIL: (The Macedonian) Enslaved by the Bulgars as a child, he is a farmer from Greece who goes to Constantinople to make his fortune. After catching the eye of the emperor, he is first made chamberlain and then co-emperor. In 867 he arranges for an assassin to kill the reigning emperor.

BOTHI: (Fictitious) A cousin of Rurik, he holds a fief near Novgorod and rules his Slav subjects with an iron fist. He sells Kuralla to Ambrose and then steals her back. When Kuralla is freed, he attempts to catch and kill Ambrose and his friends. When put on trial, he attempts to kill Polonius and is killed by Rurik.

CANUTE: (Fictitious) Ambrose's Danish master, he treats Ambrose as an adopted son and arranges for Ambrose and his party to be given refuge in Sweden.

CERDIC: was a Saxon adventurer who founded the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex.

DANIS: (Fictitious) One of the three young factors hired for the Kiev trading factory.


ETHELBERT: Brother of Alfred and Ambrose, he rules Wessex from 860 to 866 AD.

GUNNAR: (Fictitious) Head of a great Swedish trading House, he owes a debt to Ambrose's former master and pays it by hiring Ambrose, Phillip and Polonius to act as traders for him on the Russian River systems.

HAMMAR: (Fictitious) is the Rus ship captain that takes Ambrose, Polonius and Phillip from Sweden to Novgorod and then to Kiev.

IVAN: (Fictitious) A Slav peasant who is declared outlaw by Bothi. He wounds Phillip in an ambush, but Ambrose spares his life. Later, he travels all the way to Kiev to report Kuralla's presence as a captive. He is then instrumental in her rescue.

JASON: (Fictitious) He is the personal servant of Emperor Michael III of Byzantium

KURALLA: (Fictitious) She is a Slav chieftain's daughter whose village defies Bothi. Her father is tortured and killed, and she is about to be given to the warriors when Ambrose purchases her to save her life. After Ambrose becomes drunk and abuses her, she marries Polonius.

LENA: (fictitious) A Kiev slave-girl who helps Kuralla and reports her kidnapping to Polonius upon his return.

MICHAEL III: (The Drunkard) He is Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, who later dies at the hands of Basil, his co-emperor.

NURRE: (Fictitious) One of the three young factors hired for the Kiev trading factory.

OLAF: (Fictitious) He is the portly and influential Slav who grudgingly agreed to share power with Dir, Askold and the other colonists when they arrived at Kiev.

PHILLIP: (Fictitious) A giant of a man, he is a thane of Wessex. Royal Weapons-master to several generations of royal Athelings, he is captured while escorting Ambrose and appoints himself guardian of Ambrose. Where-ever Ambrose goes, there will be Phillip. His goal in life is to protect his prince.

POLONIUS: (Fictitious) He is born to noble Byzantine parents and given an excellent education. When his family has financial reverses, he and his sisters are sold into slavery. He is taken to Lombardy, France, and eventually Frisia. There, he chances to meet Ambrose and Phillip. Although he returns to the Byzantine Empire with Ambrose, he finds that friendship is more important that decadent luxury. He chooses to follow Ambrose back to England.

RURIK: He is the Rus chieftain that leads the expedition to Novgorod. Once settled there, he conquers the nearby territory. It is he who holds trial for Ambrose and his friends' attack on Bothi's homestead.

STAVROS: Centurion (fictitious): The officer who escorts Ambrose, Phillip, and Polonius to the Byzantine royal court.

THEODOTA: (Fictitious) She is a beautiful wanton who seduces Ambrose for her own gain. Ambrose's involvement with her almost costs him his life.

THEKAR: (KHAN) (Fictitious) He is the commander of the Khazar force that protects the area around the mouth of the Dnieper River.

ZENO: (Fictitious) He is the major-domo of the guest villa where the friends stay when they return to Constantinople.



AEGIR: was the god of the seashore or ocean. He was a personification of the ocean and caused storms with his anger. It was said that a ship went into "Aegir's wide jaws" when it was wrecked.

AIFOR: Means 'ever fierce'.

ATHELING: An Anglo-Saxon prince or lord.

Bardas is barely cold in his tomb: Bardas, the co-emperor, a great general, was killed on his way to conquer Crete from the Moorish pirates who had seized it years before. Basil was behind the killing, presumably with the agreement of the emperor.

BONE PAYMENT: A fine for injuring or killing someone.

CATAPHRACT: The Byzantine heavy cavalry.

CHALKE: It is a monumental vestibule leading into the Imperial Palace grounds. Its roof & doors were made of gilded bronze, its ceilings were covered with mosaics, and its walls and floors were dressed with various fine marbles.

CHERSON: The major Byzantine port on the Crimean peninsula.

Choke off the southward trade: An emissary was, in fact, sent north to the Khazar khagan shortly after the Rus attack on Constantinople.

DARDENELLES: The narrows at the southern end of the Sea of Marmara.

DROMON: The major Byzantine warship.

Elaborately carved shield and his pendulum: A method of determining longitude.

EPARCH: the acting governor of the city of Constantinople.

EXARCH: Commander or governor of an exarchate (province).

GREEK-FIRE: A volatile substance that burns fiercely and could not easily be put out. It gave the Byzantine navy a tremendous advantage.

Greens and the Blues: The Blues and the Greens were political factions in Constantinople that wielded great power and had an intense rivalry.

He squeezed the hand of the handsome man who sat at his side: There seems to be hints of a homosexual relationship between Michael and the soon-to-be co-emperor, but, if so, it is strange that Michael ordered Basil to divorce his wife and marry Michael’s mistress. As well, he gave Basil his own sister, just released from a convent, to be his mistress.

HLAUT: Sacrificial blood.

HOLMGANG: A ritual duel.

In public prayer: In fact Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, had preached a rousing sermon, where he urged the people to take courage and repent of their sins. Then he had ordered a sacred relic of the church, the supposed robe of Jesus' mother, to be carried all the way around the city in a religious procession.

JARL: A Norse or Danish chieftain or under-king.

Jehovah and my Great Khagan: The Khazars had adopted the Jewish religion sometime in the eighth century.

KARVE: Viking utility craft with a draft of less than three feet.

KATHISMA is the Emperor's Royal Box.

KENTARCHOS: Captain of a Byzantine ship.

KHAZARS: The KHAZARS were a powerful nomad tribe that was quite supportive of trade and controlled the territory where the Dnieper River enters the Black Sea. They provided protection against other nomad tribes, in return for a tax on all goods going through their territory.
KHAGAN: The chief ruler of the Khazars.

KUMIS: Fermented mare's or camel's milk.

LOKI: He was the Viking god of mischief, who liked to play tricks.

LONG WALLS (of Thrace): were walls of the outer defense system of Constantinople. They lay some 65 km. west of the city and ran from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

LONG-SHIP was a Viking sea-going vessel somewhat smaller than the dragon ship. It was up to a hundred feet in length, and carried up to 200 crewmen.

MATINS: Morning prayer.

MIKLAGARD: means "Big City" and is the name given to Constantinople by the Vikings. At the time of this story, it was the capital and chief city of the Byzantine Empire. Massively fortified, it was a very important trading centre.

ODIN: The god of war and death.

PECHENEG: A Turkish tribe of nomads.

PERUN: the thunder-god of the ancient pagan Slavs.


RUS JARLS: Rus is the tribe of Swedes who travelled down the rivers into Russia and conquered Novgorod and Kiev. A Jarl is a Viking nobleman. Dir and Askold were the joint leaders of Kiev.

SAX: Viking dagger.

SCUTATUS: Byzantine heavily armed and armored infantry.

SON-OF-CANUTE: Canuteson: Ambrose, while a prince of Wessex, was known to the Vikings as the son of Canute. Canute was a Dane, once Ambrose’s master, who had sent his slave to Sweden to escape death.

THANE: An Anglo-Saxon minor nobleman.

The river people: The Varangian and Slav traders.

THERMOPYLAE: was the Greek pass where the Spartan King Leonidas and 300 soldiers bravely held off the Persian army of Xerxes in 480 BC.

Thin piece of rock: The mineral Cordierite, which can show the direction of the sun on cloudy days. It was known as the Sun stone.

THING: An assembly of free-born men who served as a council and jury.

THOR: The son of Odin and the god of thunder.

THRALL: A slave.

TOURMARCH: Commander of the fleet, or admiral.

VARANGIAN: Is the name I use to refer to both the Swedish Rus and the various other Vikings who have settled on the major rivers of Russia.

VARANGIAN SEA: The Baltic Sea.

VICTORY-MAKER was the name of the priceless foreign-made sword Canute had given his young thrall when Ambrose was still a captive in Denmark.

VITCHEV: is a hill 35 miles south of Kiev that overlooks the Dnieper River. It was at one point fortified and used as a warning-post against attack. It was also the location where the ships gathered in spring before their perilous trip across the open steppes.

We could seize the treasures on board all those ships!: This maneuver was actually successfully done much later by the Turks, under Sultan Mehmet II, in 1453 AD. The Turks dragged a fleet of over seventy vessels along a road extending for over a mile; behind the fortifications at Galata. They were then able to launch this fleet on the waters of the Golden Horn. Constantinople switched from Byzantine to Turkish hands soon thereafter.


The History of Wessex, of Russia, and of Ambrose and his Friends in the Ninth and Tenth Century AD.

Historical facts are in plain text.
Fictional stories in this series and comments are in italics.

793: First recorded attack by (Norwegian) Vikings on England.

832-865 AD.: Danish Vikings attack East Anglia, Wessex, and Kent.

838: Cornwall surrenders to Wessex.

845: The king’s mistress gives birth to AMBROSE.

849: Alfred the Great is born.

850: Vikings winter in Kent for the first time.

853: Alfred is sent to Rome where he is made a Consul by the Pope.

855: Ethelwulf, king of Wessex, takes his son Alfred to Rome again.

856: Ivar the Boneless and Olaf the White take Dublin.

858: Ethelwulf dies. Ethelbald becomes king.

(Trader of Kiev)
860: Ethelbert becomes king.
Vikings sack Winchester before being driven out of Wessex.
Ambrose and Phillip are enslaved in a raid on the coast of Wessex.

861: Pope Nicholas sends envoys to Constantinople to investigate Photius’ ascension as patriarch.

862: Rurik, a leader of Varangian Rus Vikings, is invited to rule at Novgorod. Ambrose, Polonius and Phillip arrive in Sweden after escaping from Denmark. Pursued by their former captors, they hurriedly agree to go south with Rurik and his Rus tribesmen.

863: Dir and Askold, Rus jarls, take over the Slavic town of Kiev. Nb. There seems to be considerable debate about both this date and whether Dir and Askold actually existed.
After setting up a trading post in Novgorod, the friends join Dir and Askold’s force going south to Kiev.

864: The Pechenegs, a savage steppe tribe, attack Kiev. Only with Polonius’ expert help, and the fanatical fighting bravery of the Vikings, do they survive. An attack on the Pechenegs at their most vulnerable point not only ends the siege, but forces the Pechenegs to pay to cross the Dnieper River.

(Emissary to Byzantium)
865: Kent is invaded by a Viking force and Danegeld is paid for the first time to stop the destruction. The Great Army (Danish Vikings) arrives in East Anglia from France.
Dir and Askold lead a combined Slav and Varangian force against Constantinople because of a perceived injustice. With both the Byzantine fleet and army away, they manage to do considerable damage, although they never seriously threaten the city. On the way home, a savage storm sinks many of the Viking and Slav ships. Meantime, Kuralla is Kidnaped in Kiev. That there was an attack by Varangians, and a storm, within a few years of this date seems inconvertible. Since the Russian Primary Chronicles set the date somewhere between 863 to 867, I arbitrarily assigned it to 865.

866: Reign of Ethelred in Wessex. The Great Army seizes York. Ambrose and Polonius are sent by Dir and Askold as official envoys to Constantinople. They return north to find word from Kuralla waiting for them. The friends rush north, free Kuralla, turn around, and travel again to Constantinople.
After attempts by Basil to involve them in a plot against the emperor, Ambrose, Kuralla, Polonius and Phillip sail for Wessex. Basil, aware they know altogether too much, sends agents after them.

(Southern Journey)
Basil is told by the Byzantine emperor, Michael III, to divorce his wife so he may marry Michael’s mistress.
Bardas plans a sea campaign to retake Crete. Michael has Basil kill Bardas.
Michael adopts Basil and makes him junior emperor.
Ambrose and his friends are captured and enslaved by Muslim pirates operating out of Crete. Polonius’ skills allow them to break out of their prison, and they escape to the dubious safety of a Byzantine Fleet. When they realize one of Basil’s agents recognizes them and intends to kill them, they flee to Egypt, where they join a caravan heading west.
The Byzantine admiral harries them across North Africa, but Ambrose and his friends do manage to strike back and then find a Muslim slaver to transport them to Calabria. Attacked and hunted, the friends finally cross the border from Calabria to Benevento. Ambrose feels that they are finally safe.

(Journey Home)
The friends start north. Ambrose and his friends pay a visit to Admiral Demetrious in Naples. They escape and make it back across the frontier just ahead of vengeful Byzantine soldiers.
Ambrose makes it to Rome, where he meets Pope Nicholas. He and his friends then head north for the mountain pass to France. They arrive after the pass is closed for the winter, and must spend the winter in Aosta.

867: Aelle, king of Northumbria, is killed trying to retake York.
Basil ‘the Macedonian’ kills his own sponsor, Michael III, emperor of Byzantium. Ambrose and his friends survive an attack by assassins, and in the spring they head north into the mountains where they are captured and enslaved. After Kuralla rescues them, they reach France and relative safety. They reach Paris and meet the king. Then they head for Calais and a ship to England. The Vikings, however, are raiding along the coast. Finally, after many adventures, they reach Calais and Phillip finds a captain willing to risk the dangerous crossing.
Finally, Ambrose and his friends arrive in England, where Ambrose is welcomed back to the court. Ambrose meets a beautiful girl and falls in love.

(Warrior of the King)
868: The Great Army occupies Mercia. King Ethelred and his brother, Alfred, ride north to support Burgred of Mercia. The Vikings are besieged at Nottingham, but Burgred decides to pay Danegeld. The West Saxons go home.
Alfred marries a Mercian noblewoman - Ealhswith.
Ambrose and his companions return north and join the Great Army as spies. After finding out the Vikings are going north, they flee. Ambrose is wounded and nursed by his loved one. The Great Army pursues, and catches up. Strangely, the attack is called off.
Ahmad ibn Tulun, a Turk, is appointed by the Caliph to rule Egypt.
Pope Nicholas the Great dies.

(Gretchen; Future Princess)
Gretchen and her father head south for Wessex and her marriage. She is Kidnaped and taken to Wales.
In Wales, Vikings attack the group, and Gretchen is taken to the Viking stronghold of Wexford in Ireland. Ambrose visits Wexford, but is unable to free Gretchen.

869: The Great Army returns to York in the north for a year.
Ambrose attacks the Viking ship carrying his beloved north. They are finally reunited.

870: Danes kill King Edmund of East Anglia, then invade Wessex under the Danish leader Halfdan.

871: Alfred becomes king. After fighting nine battles, Alfred pays Danegeld to buy peace for five years.

873: Ivar the Boneless, ‘king of Dublin and York’, dies in Ireland. His brother, Halfdan Ragnarsson, becomes king in his place.

874: Edward, son of King Alfred and future king, is born.

(Alfred the Great; Viking Invasion)
875: Alfred takes out a small fleet and routs seven Viking ships. (Nb. For dramatic purposes, I arbitrarily moved this event to the following year, where I tied it in with Guthrum’s invasion.)

876: Danes under Guthrum break their word, slip past Alfred and seize Wareham.

877: Guthrum agrees to a truce, but slips away to Exeter, which the Danes fortify.
After a Viking fleet is dashed on the rocks in a storm, the Danes agree to withdraw.
Halfdan Ragnarsson is killed in Ireland fighting Norwegian Vikings.

878: Guthrum, a Danish chief, rides south across the border in winter.
Alfred at first hides in the forest of Selwood.
A second Viking army, led by Ubbi Ragnarsson and invading from Wales, is defeated in Devon.
As spring approaches, Alfred builds a military camp on the island of Athelney.

Battle of Edington: Alfred’s forces meet the Vikings here in May. The Danes break and run to Chippenham.
The Saxons blockade the Danes within their fortress of Chippenham for 14 days.
At last Guthrum surrenders and agrees to be baptized.

879: Guthrum takes his retreating army to East Anglia, where the men eventually settle down.

882: Alfred fights a battle against four Danish ships.

883: Halfdan dies. Guthred is recognized as king of Jorvik.

884: Ethelflaed, daughter of Alfred, marries Ethelred of Mercia.

(Alfred the Great: King’s Revenge)
885: A Danish army crosses to England and besieges Rochester. Alfred relieves the city before it falls.
Later that summer Alfred fights a naval battle at the mouth of the Stour River. He takes all 16 warships.
Guthrum breaks his treaty. He gathers every Viking vessel and attacks Alfred’s laden fleet. He wins.
Alfred calls up his entire force and marches on London. He takes it and garrisons the city.

886: Alfred signs another treaty with Guthrum, where he gets London and control over part of Mercia.

889: Edgar, son of Ambrose and Gretchen, is born.

891: Danes in France suffer two serious defeats.

(Alfred the Great; Young Edward)
892: Five thousand Danes land in Kent and seize an unfinished fort at Appledore. A second fleet follows, led by Haesten, and lands at Milton Royal. Alfred arrives with his army, drives Haesten away, and then moves against the Danes at Appledore.

893: Haesten’s fleet sails away, to Benfleet, and is eventually joined by the second, larger fleet. The Danes then raid deep into Hampshire and Berkshire. Edward, son of Alfred, inflicts a major defeat, and then chases the Danes across the Thames. After being forced to surrender, the Danes give hostages and depart. The Danes of Northumbria and East Anglia send two fleets to Dorset as a diversion. Alfred rushes to the west, while Edward marches on Benfleet. Edward wins a great victory.
The Danes gather all their forces and march along the Thames again. They are besieged, break out, gather fresh forces, and try again. Besieged at Chester, the Danes break out yet again and flee to Wales.

Late summer, 893: Edward, Ethelred, the London garrison, along with reinforcements from the West Country, gather and march on Benfleet. The Viking army is away raiding, and the Saxons take the town.
All Danes now gather at Shoebury in Essex. They march west to the Severn River. They build a camp at Buttington, in Montgomeryshire. Though besieged, the Danes break out and make it back to Essex.

Early autumn 893 -The Danes in Essex march without pausing, along the old Roman Watling Road, into Cheshire, where they seize the tun of Chester. Besieged, the Vikings break out yet again, though they suffer heavy losses. They flee to Wales.

Spring 894: The Danes split up and flee back to Essex via different roads.

Winter 894: The Danes sail up the Lea River and build a fort. London men attack, but are repulsed. Alfred arrives and guards the peasants who harvest the local crops. Alfred then moves his army to the mouth of the river, where he builds twin forts to blockade the Viking fleet. The Danes abandon their ships and ride north and west, to Bridgnorth in Shropshire.
Athelstan, future king and son of King Edward, is born.

895: In the spring the Vikings sneak back to Essex or move to Northumbria or East Anglia.
Guthfrith, king of Northumbria, dies on August 24.

896: Sitric Ivarsson dies.

(Edward the King)
899: King Alfred dies. Ethelwold seizes two royal estates and kidnaps a nun. Faced with an army under Edward, he flees northward. The Danes of Jorvik (Northumbria) accept him as king.

902: Ethelwold arrives in Essex with a Northumbrian fleet, and the Danes there submit to him.
The Norse are expelled from Dublin. Ingimund attacks Wales. Driven out, he settles on the Wirral Peninsula with the permission of Ethelflaed, since Ethelred is sick. (While the exact date is in doubt, the most likely year of this event was in 902.)
Elfweard, second son of King Edward, is born.

(Introduction to ‘Ethelflaed, ‘Lady of the Mercians’)
903: Ethelwold convinces Eohric of East Anglia to join him, and together they raid Mercia and Wessex as far as Cricklade and Braydon before retreating. In retaliation, Edward gathers his fyrdmen and ravages the Viking lands as far north as the northern fens. He then orders a retreat, but the Kentish fyrdmen are slow to obey and the Danes catch up with them on December 13. Ethelwold and Eohric are killed on the Danish side, while Sigehelm, the Ealdorman of Kent, falls on the other side. Both sides suffer serious losses. This is known as the Battle of the Holme.

(Ethelflaed, ‘Lady of the Mercians’) (902 to 919)
905: The Norse under Ingimund demand land and the old fortress of Chester. When their demand is rejected, they revolt and besiege Chester. Ethelflaed provides extra fyrdmen and the garrison is able to hold the Norse off.
Edgar is Kidnaped by Ingimund and Ambrose goes after his family in Hitchingford.

906: King Edward concludes a truce with East Anglia and Northumbria, and probably pays Danegeld.

907: Ethelflaed refortifies Chester.

909: Ethelflaed & Edward raid Danish East Anglia and bring back the body of St. Oswald.

910: The Saxons and Mercians defeat and kill joint Jorvik kings Eowils and Halfdan II at the Battle of Tetenhall. Ethelflaed builds the fortress at Bramsbury.

911: Ethelred dies.
Ethelflaed is chosen by the Witan as ‘Lady of the Mercians’.
Edward annexes London and Oxfordshire.

912: Ethelflaed builds two more burhs along the Welsh border - along the Severn River.
1. Bridgnorth - main crossing point to Wales.
2. Scargeat- location is unknown. Probably upriver north and west from Bridgnorth.
Edward takes his army to Essex, builds a fortress at Witham, and receives submission from Essex.
Some of Edward’s supporters moves to the burh of Hertford and work on it.

913: Danish forces at Leicester look west and see two new burhs: Tamworth and Stafford.
Danes march south to the village of Banbury, joining forces with Danes from Northampton for a coordinated attack. The Angles meet them in battle and defeat the Vikings.

914: Ethelflaed fortifies the largest town south of Danish Northampton - Buckingham.
She builds a fort on either side of the River Ouse.
Danish armies of Northampton and Bedford submit to Ethelflaed’s army at Buckingham. Jarl Thurcetel submits.
A Viking army arrives from Brittany, led by Ohter and Hroald. They land in the Severn estuary. They go inland, but the men of Hereford & Gloucester meet them and put them to flight.
The Vikings finally leave in the autumn.
A Danish Viking, Ragnald, seizes power in Northumbria after Tetenhall, and defeats the Scots in the First Battle of Corbridge in 914.

915: This allows Edward to establish a fort at Bedford, directly across the Ouse from the former Danish camp.
Ethelflaed now had a nearly straight line of forts from Chester to Hertford.
There are two gaps. Ethelflaed closes the Mersey gap with several more burhs.
914 - Eddesbury. Warwick.
915 - Runcorn.

916: Edward builds a fort at Maldon.
Ethelflaed sends her army into Wales. An abbot had been killed. The army destroys a town and captures a Welsh king’s wife.

917: Ethelflaed signs a treaty with two Scottish kings, both called Constantine, insuring their alliance against Jorvik.
Ragnald is unwilling to face Ethelflaed. He fights the Scots and Picts again at the Second battle of Corbridge. He wins again but the numbers of his army is cut in half.
Edward fights the Danes in the east - Towcester, Bedford, Wigingamere, Tempsford. He kills King Guthrum II at Tempsford and all resistance in East Anglia collapses.
Ethelflaed’s troops march into the Danish center at Derby and take it.
All Danish leaders now submit to Edward and accept him as their protector.
They are granted their estates and allowed to live according to their Danish customs.

918: Edward builds a burh at Stamford. The Danes there submit without a fight.
To the west, Ethelflaed marches into Leicester, where Danes surrender without bloodshed, probably led by Danes seeking support against the Norse threat from the west.
The last two Danish enclaves, Nottingham and Lincoln, fall to the West Saxons by the end of summer, but Ethelflaed dies on June 12, 918.

(Elfwynn, Traitor Queen)
The Mercian Witan gives the title of queen to the twenty year old daughter of Ethelflaed - Elfwynn. Ambrose and Polonius kidnap her during the winter. They return to rescue the boys of the Royal School in the spring of 919.

919: Edward calls Elfwynn to his court and officially annexes Mercia.
Edward moves his army to Gloucester and Betlic flees. Ambrose and Polonius chase him northward. They fight on the way, and Elfwynn finally kills Betlic.
Norse adventurer Ragnald storms York and establishes a line of Norse kings.
During his reign he gives nominal allegiance to Edward, who recognizes his new kingdom.

921: Edmund, son of King Edward, is born.

(Athelstan, First King of England)
924: There is a Mercian revolt in Chester. King Edward is killed at Fardon-on-Dee. Mercia supports Athelstan as king. Wessex supports Elfweard, his half-brother. Elfweard suddenly dies a few months after his father.

925: Athelstan is finally crowned as king. He is crowned at Kingston-upon-Thames, by Ayhelm, Archbishop of Canterbury. This is the first time a Saxon king is crowned with a crown instead of a helmet.

926: Athelstan arranges for his sister Edith to marry Sihtric of York. They agree not to invade each other’s territory and not to support the other’s enemies.

927: Sihtric dies. Cousin Guthfrith leads a fleet from Dublin to try and take the throne. Athelstan captures York and receives the submission of the Danes. (It is not known if he fought Guthfrith). The Northumbrians are outraged at this usurpation.

July, 927: at Eamont, King Constantine of Scotland (Alba), King Hywel Ddn of Deheubarth, Ealdred of Bamburgh and King Owain of Strathclyde accept Athelstan’s overlordship, which leads to seven years of peace. Athelstan is now the first king of all the Anglo-Saxon people.

933: Prince Edwin drowns, possibly after a rebellion where someone called Alfred attempts to blind Athelstan.

934: Athelstan invades Scotland, though the reasons are unclear. Sometime thereafter, Constantine of Scotland marries his daughter to the Norse king of Dublin.

937: The Norse king of Dublin, Olaf Guthfrithson, joins with the Scots and Strathclyde Britons under Owain to invade England in the fall. Ambrose meets with the Scottish king. The opposing armies meet at the Battle of Brunanburh. Athelstan wins an overwhelming victory, though he also takes heavy losses. Ambrose and Polonius die protecting the king.

939: (October) Athelstan dies.

(Edmund, King of England)
939: Edmund is proclaimed king. Crowned in November.

939-940: King Olaf III Guthfrithson conquers Northumbria and invades the Midlands. Conquers as far south as Watling Street.
Olaf marches south from York to Northampton. When that siege fails, he goes on to Tamworth, which he takes by storm. King Edmund besieges King Olaf and Archbishop Wulfstan at Leicester, but they escape by night. Battle is averted when Archbishops Oda and Wulfstan reconcile the two kings and a truce is concluded. Watling Street becomes the new boundary.

941: Olaf Guthfrithson raids Bernicia and dies shortly thereafter. Olaf Sihtricson succeeds him on the Northumbrian throne. He has his cousin Ragnall as co-ruler.

942: Edmund defeats Idwal of Gwynedd.
Edmund reconquers the Midlands.

943: Edmund becomes godfather of King Olaf Sihtricson of York.

944: Edmund reconquers Northumbria.
Edmund drives out of Northumbria both Olaf Sihtricson and Ragnall Guthfrithson.
Congalach Cnogba, High King of Ireland, sacks Dublin.

945: Edmund conquers Strathclyde, but cedes the territory to King Malcolm I of Scotland in exchange for a treaty of mutual support.
Blacaire of Dublin driven out by Olaf.

946: Edmund is killed in a brawl by an exiled thief named Leofa. Eadred, Edmund’s brother, succeeds to the throne.


Map of Ambrose's Journey


About The Author

Bruce Corbett lives on Ile Perrot, just west of Montreal, Quebec. After counseling teenagers and adults for more than forty years, Bruce Corbett retired to concentrate on his writing and photography. To date, he has written a collection of Science Fiction short stories and two Science Fiction novels.

The project closest to his heart, however, is his series of well-researched historical novels based on a family of fictional heroes and set in the time of Alfred the Great, his children and grandchildren. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex, Emissary to Byzantium, is the second in this series. This particular story borrows much of its timeline from The Russian Primary Chronicles.

These novels are arguably the most comprehensive series of novels ever written based on the time of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. A complete description of the various novels, including samples, links and supplementary information, may be found on Bruce Corbett's web site:

Bruce Corbett's website is:


Other Books Released by Bruce Corbett In chronological order.

I. The Ambrose Sagas
1. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex; Trader of Kiev
2. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex; Emissary to Byzantium
3. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex; Southern Journey
4. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex; Journey Home
5. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex; Warrior of the King
6. Ambrose, . . . Wessex; Gretchen, Future Princess

II. The King Alfred Sagas
1. Alfred the Great; Viking Invasion (formerly #7)
2. Alfred the Great; King's Revenge (formerly# 8)
3. Alfred the Great; Young Edward (formerly # 9)

III. The King Edward Sagas
1 . Alfred the Great; Edward the King (formerly #10)
2. Queen Ethelflaed; ‘Lady of the Mercians’ (Soon)
3. Elfwynn, Traitor Queen of Mercia (Soon)

IV. The Anglo-Saxon Kings of all England
1. Athelstan, First King of England (Soon)
2. Edmund, King of England (Soon)
3. King Eadred of England (Under construction)

Bruce Corbett's Speculative Short Stories
The Vuorran Pogrom.
The Goldmines of Alpha Centauri

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