The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

It is the middle of the Ninth Century, the England as we know it exists only as a dream, a dream in the mind of one man, Alfred, King of the West Saxons. But it is a dream that will not come easy or without a cost. England is a divided land under invasion by Viking war bands looking for land and plunder.

To make his dream a reality Alfred will need the help of strong and capable men. Men who know how to fight and know what it is like to stand shoulder to shoulder in a shield-wall. Men like Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a man with closer ties to the Vikings than to Alfred and his Saxons. But Uhtred needs Alfred as much as Alfred needs him, for Uhtred also has a dream, to reclaim his family’s ancestral home, a dream he can only accomplish with Alfred’s help. They may not like each other, but they’re all they’ve got.