Cast of Characters
Appendix I History of Wessex, Russia
Appendix II Glossary
Appendix III Map of Ambrose<s Journey
Appendix IV About the Author
Appendix V Other Stories by the author

Cast of Characters

ADAMO: (Fictitious) The priest who brings Eldred to Ambrose's chamber in Rome. ADELCHIS: Ruler of Benevento.

ADOLF: (Fictitious) is a trader with Hans who tests Polonius when they first met.

ANDRETTI, (Archbishop): (Fictitious) Once Brother Andre, he took care of Ambrose when, as a child, the prince visited Rome. He escorts Ambrose and his friends to Rome and then Milan.

ANTONIO: (Fictitious) is the leader of the armed guards based in Aosta. He and his men are hired for the winter and their departure leaves the trade caravan with no guards for the hazardous journey through the mountain pass.

BASIL: (The Bulgarian) Basil was a former slave who made his way to Constantinople and worked in the stables. Noticed by the emperor of the time, Michael III, he became High Chamberlain and, eventually, co-emperor. In 867, he became sole emperor by killing Michael.

BENOIT: (of Paris) (Fictitious) Benoit was the commander of the Franks who drove off the soldiers of Count Boso.

CHARLES: (The Bald) is king of Francia Occidental (France) in 867.

CIRO: (Brother) (Fictitious) Is the monk in charge of the dismantling of the bridge near Naples.

DEMETRIOUS: (Fictitious) Is the personal aide to Emperor Basil, in charge of the courier ship that was to return Ambrose and his companions to Constantinople. He then took the rank of admiral, and led a fleet to Alexandria, Tripoli, and Italy, in an attempt to catch Ambrose and his companions.

ELDRED: (Fictitious) Brother to Rheda, he is a Jute captive sold in Rome but freed by the woman who bought him.

EMILIO: (Fictitious) The innkeeper in Aosta where Ambrose and his friends spent the winter.

ETHELBALD: Eldest son of Ethelwulf. He seized the throne in his father's absence, but agreed to let Ethelwulf rule the kingdoms of Kent, Essex, Surrey, and Sussex. He ruled from 858 to 860, when he suddenly died.

ETHELBERT: He was crowned king of Wessex upon the death of his brother Ethelbald (860). He re-united the subject kingdoms with Wessex. He died in 865, and was succeeded on the throne by ETHELRED.

ETHELRED: The fourth son of Ethelwulf, he became king upon the death of his brother Ethelred in 865. He was the king on the throne when Ambrose and his party originally returned to England from his adventures in Russia and Byzantium. Ethelred, in turn died in 871, and the Witan chose Alfred over Ethelred's young children.

ETHELWULF: King of Wessex, he reigned from 839 to 858. He was the father of Ethelbald, Ethelbert, Ethelred, Ethelswith, Alfred, and Ambrose.

FRANCOIS: (Fictitious) Chamberlain to King Charles the Bald of Francia Occidental (France) GARR: (Fictitious) Was Lieutenant to Hans the Trader.

GABRELLI: (Cardinal) (Fictitious) is commander of the Pope's personal galley when the Byzantines stop it.

GIOVANNI: (Brother) (Fictitious) Monk who is sent to retrieve the oxcart and the timbers at the bridge outside of Naples.

GIUSEPPE: (Fictitious) One of the Italian warriors hired to protect the group of traders when going through the Alps. He was commander of the force. HADRIAN: (Brother) (Fictitious) Young monk who took the horses away at the bridge near Naples.

HAKIM: (Fictitious) Is the man Ambrose meets when they are imprisoned on the island of Crete. He later journeys across Africa with the friends. Babak, the famous Turkish general, is his grandfather.

HANS: (Fictitious) Is the German trader appointed as caravan-master by the traders.

JEAN MARC: Was one of the bandit soldiers of Count Boso.

JUDITH: Daughter of Charles the Bald, she was the Frankish princess who marries Alfred's father. After her husband, King Ethelwulf, dies, the new king and son-in-law, Ethelbald, forces his own step-mother to marry him.

JULIUS: (Brother) (Fictitious) The monk who drives the oxcart at the bridge near Naples.

KHALIL: (Fictitious) The first of the two Byzantine spies in North Africa, he encounters Ambrose twice more, once in Southern Italy, and again in Aosta, where he warns him of approaching assassins.

KURALLA: (Fictitious) Wife of Polonius, she is a Slav chieftain's daughter who watched her family killed when she was enslaved. Prince Ambrose bought her to prevent multiple rape, and then frees her to marry Polonius.

LOUIS II: (Emperor): One of Charlemagne's descendants, he is ruler of northern Italy and part of present-day France. LUDWIG: (Fictitious) Second trader who tests Polonius when he first met Hans in Aosta.

MARCO: (Bishop) (Fictitious) who sends a warning to Archbishop Andretti of a Byzantine presence.

MORCEAU: (General) (Fictitious) is the commander of the Frankish army who rides against the Danes on the Normandy coast.

NARCISCO: (Fictitious) Is the enemy warrior who tries to ride Polonius, Phillip and Ambrose off the cliff. Polonius wounds the warrior's horse with a dagger, and both man and horse plunge to their death.

NICHOLAS: (The Great) is pope when Ambrose reaches Rome.

OTTO: (Fictitious) was a Viking who met Ambrose in France and wanted to rob him.

PEPIN: (Fictitious) Was squadron commander for Emperor Louis of Italy.

PIERRE: (Fictitious) Was missis domincus, or 'envoy of the king' for Emperor Louis of Italy. He blackmails his way into joining the trade caravan through the Little St. Bernard Pass.

PIETRO: (Fictitious) One of the Italian mercenaries hired to protect the group of traders when going through the Alps. His brother was commander of the force.

POLONIUS: (Fictitious) Ambrose's friend, he is a Byzantine scholar who was sold into slavery and found himself a Viking slave. Once they escape, he travels from Russia to Constantinople and then back to Italy via North Africa.

RHEDA: (Fictitious) is the Angle girl found chained in Demetrious' chambers in Naples.

ROLF, (Captain): (Fictitious) Commander of the Guard who meets Ambrose's ship when he lands in Benevento.

SALVATORE: (Fictitious) Owner of the inn in Naples.

THEODOTA: (Fictitious) A Byzantine courtier who seduces Ambrose and tries to get the prince to kill her old and very rich husband. Basil intends to use her money to bribe the palace guards when he seizes the throne.

ZANOLIN: (Sergeant) (Fictitious) Is the soldier who reports the arrival of the Byzantine spy, Khalil.

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

Historical facts are in plain text.
Fictional stories in this series and comments are in italics.
Parts specific to this story are in bold.

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 really 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 steppes tribe, attacks 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 damage the Byzantine ships. Ambrose then finds 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. (September)
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.

867: 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 re-united.

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 Wessex 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.

885: Later that summer Alfred fights a naval battle at the mouth of the Stour River. He takes all 16 enemy 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, volunteers from 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.



Angleland: For my purposes, it's England.

Angelisc: The lands of the Angels, Saxons and Jutes - England.

Askold & Dir: The Viking leaders who sailed to Kiev with a small army and conquered the city which was, along with Novgorod to the north, the foundation of the soon extensive Rus empire. In Ambrose, Prince of Wessex, Emissary to Byzantium, Polonius served as the chief Rus military strategist.

Atheling: An Atheling was a royal prince. The Saxon kings were chosen from amongst their ranks by the Witan, or council.

Bookland: Land given to the Church in perpetuity to support it.

Constantinople: The capital and chief city of the Byzantine Empire. A city of possibly half a million people, it was heavily fortified. It was also a very important trading center. The Vikings just called it 'big city, or Miklagard.

Dragon Ship: The largest Viking warship, it was up to 160 feet in length, and had up to 72 oars. It could carry a crew of up to 300.

Dromon: The major Byzantine warship.

Frankland: The land of the Franks. Under Charlemagne, this included modern France, and Germany, and a good portion of the rest of Western Europe.

Jarl: Important Viking land-owners, they acted as priests and judges.

Kiev: was a town just north of the open steppes on the Dnieper River. It was apparently seized by Dir and Askold sometime soon after 860 A.D.; after the death of three brothers who had ruled there.

A 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.

Maghrib: North Africa.

Miklagard: or New Rome is the Byzantine capital of Constantinople.

Missus Domincus: A Frankish 'king's messenger' whose duty it is to supervise provincial administration.

Novgorod: A town where legend has it that Rus settlers were invited (circa 860 A.D.) to come and rule, in return for their military protection.

Rus: I am presuming that Dir, Askold, and the majority of the warriors were Rus. When I am sure that I am referring specifically to a Rus warrior, migration or leader, I will use 'Rus'. I use the word 'Varangian' to refer to any combined forces, even if the majority of them is composed of the Rus tribesmen.

St. Remi: Fictitious monastery.

Sax: A single-bladed Saxon dagger.

Skjaldborg: Viking shield-wall.

Testudo: An armored siege engine, with a top to protect from missiles fired from above.

Thane: A Saxon nobleman.

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.

Vespers: Evening prayer.

Victory-Maker: the sword given to Ambrose by his Danish master when Ambrose was a Viking slave. Taken in battle along the North African coast, its origin was unknown, but it held an unsurpassed edge.

Wergeld: Money paid as compensation for injury inflicted on another.

Weapons-Master: The title given Phillip by Saxon kings in recognition of his great fighting prowess.

APPENDIX III Map of Ambrose's Journey.


About the Author

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 a Science Fiction novel.

The project closest to his heart, however, is his series of well-researched historical novels based on a family of fictional heroes, set in the time of Alfred the Great, his children and grandchildren. Ambrose, Prince of Wessex, Journey Home, is the fourth in this series. This particular story marks the arrival of our heroes in Britain. In the next 10 novels, I will thoroughly and systematically explore the great events and battle that took the West Saxons from petty kings to rulers of all Britain. It is an exciting story, and I hope that you will join me in exploring this little known period of British history..

These novels, taken as a group, 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 lives in Pincourt, Quebec, Canada. He is an avid landscape and wildlife photographer, and is generally found reading anything historic.


Other Books Available from the Author

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, Prince of Wessex; Gretchen, Future Princess

II. The King Alfred Sagas
1. Alfred the Great; Viking Invasion
2. Alfred the Great; King’s Revenge
3. Alfred the Great; Young Edward

III. The King Edward Sagas
1. Alfred the Great; Edward the King
2. Queen Ethelflaed; ‘Lady of the Mercians’ 2023release
3. Elfwynn, Traitor Queen of Mercia 2023 release

IV. The Anglo-Saxon Kings of all England
1. Athelstan, First King of England 2023 release
2. Edmund, King of England. 2024 release
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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