Born to Saxon nobility, but captured and raised a Dane, Uhtred grows up with a conflicted identity. A natural warrior, he is a leader of men; fearless, instinctive, and driven by a deep seated needed to reclaim his homeland of Bebbanburg.
Quick witted and tempestuous he follows his gut, and abhors the pious ways of Christianity. Like the Danes, he believes life should be lived passionately and fully.
Uhtred has charm, energy, charisma, and an underlying sense of justice - qualities that make him very attractive to women. His impetuousness and irreverence sometimes land him in trouble. King Alfred has some success in taming Uhtred in to using his head and valuing his Saxon roots, but Uhtred's spirit is undimmed.
King Alfred has gravitas, intelligence and integrity, and is not your typical hero. A man of great wisdom, he is committed to the power of the written word, the spread of Christianity, and his vision of one country united under God. The flipside of Uhtred, King Alfred is a thinker and a master strategist, but lacks physical strength and is often sickly. Learned, pious, and cautious the responsibilities of leadership rest heavy on his shoulders, but despite his vulnerabilities he is ruthless and determined, and not oblivious to the charms of women. Even Uhtred, who initially sees King Alfred as a humourless pedant, grows to admire the man who will become known as 'King Alfred the Great'.
Alongside Uhtred, Brida is captured as a child and raised by Danes. She becomes Uhtred's best friend, soul mate, and future lover. Fearless, gutsy, outspoken and a born fighter, Brida immediately feels at home in the boisterous world of the Danes.
King Alfred’s wife Aelswith is fiercely loyal and protective of her husband. Pious, haughty and acerbic, she is an unpopular figure in Alfred’s court. Aelswith takes an immediate dislike to Uhtred and distrusts his Pagan ways, and holds a deep grudge against him, but she is forced to question her judgment in times of great hardship.
Uhtred's Saxon father's priest, Beocca goes on to become King Alfred's most trusted advisor. As such, he alone has seen Uhtred grow from a boy to a man, and knows his true birth right. Pious and devout, but with a wry sense of humour, Beocca is also a clever and strategic thinker whose opinion King Alfred values. Ever hopeful of turning stubborn Uhtred from his Pagan ways, Beocca maintains a strong affection for his wayward charge.
King Alfred's eldest nephew, Aethelwold, would have been king instead if it weren't for his age, and as a consequence holds a grudge against his uncle and deemed usurper. A little younger than Uhtred, Aethelwold has led a sheltered life, and is an immature and petulant rebel who wants to stake his claim to the throne, but drinking and womanising get in the way. Despite his flaws there is good in Aethelwold, and he develops a bond with fellow misfit Uhtred.
RAGNAR THE YOUNGER
Uhtred’s Danish brother Ragnar the Younger is brave, loyal and fair, and will come to Uhtred’s aid when he’s most needed, despite struggling with his brother’s enduring loyalty to Alfred and the Saxon cause.
Ragnar and Brida are now Alfred’s hostages, but Ragnar knows he must fulfil his destiny by avenging his father’s death at the hands of Kjartan the Cruel.
Alfred and Aelswith’s beloved daughter. Aethelflaed is strong, brave and intelligent; she has a mind as thoughtful as her father’s and a will as strong as her mother’s. Ever grateful towards Uhtred for protecting her family in the dark days before the battle of Ethandun, the two share a kinship that will be put to the test in a time of great need.
An aetheling; though Edward is eligible to inherit his father Alfred’s crown, whether this comes to pass will depend on the support of the people and the decision of the witan. Alfred wishes Edward to become king to ensure his legacy is continued, however Edward is thought to be too young by some, and with enemies both Dane and Saxon, Edward will have to prove his mettle if he is to keep his place as next in line to the throne of Wessex. Edward takes after his father in some ways - he is intelligent, eager to learn, courageous and passionate.
Arrogant lord of Mercia. Aethelred appears to be both the perfect match for Aethelflaed and a good ally for Alfred as he strives to extend his influence outside Wessex. But in moments of weakness Aethelred is plagued by insecurity, and is rarely seen without his advisor Aldhelm by whom he is easily influenced in matters both personal and political.
A spirited and resilient nun, Hild is devout without being sanctimonious, and offers sound advice and loyal support as one of Uhtred’s closest companions. The suffering she has experienced at the hands of Danes draws her to a life lived by the sword, as she tries to overcome her trauma.
Uhtred meets Finan in dire circumstances, and they forge a bond that will keep them fighting at each other’s side for a lifetime. A former warrior of Ireland, Finan’s swordskill is as nearly as quick as his wit, and Uhtred learns to rely on Finan for his counsel, battle strategy, and friendship.
Illegitimate son of Kjartan, he defects by swearing an oath to Uhtred. Keen to turn his back on his roots, he is tireless in his efforts to serve Uhtred, and becomes one of his most faithful men. With striking Danish looks, Sihtric makes a cunning spy.
Alfred’s formidable warrior, whose duty is often to keep an eye on Uhtred on behalf of the king. Though ferocious in battle, he is a patient tutor and trains Aethelflaed in swordskill.
JEPPE BECK LAURSEN
Sworn to the Northman brothers, Erik and Sigefrid, Haesten fails in a task of great responsibility and is rescued by Uhtred in a moment of mercy. Sly and self-interested, Haesten is a master of self-preservation and will do anything for the sake of personal gain.
Aethelred’s ambitious and scheming right-hand-man, and commander of his household troops. Resents Mercia’s subservience to Wessex, and has plans to reverse the line of dominance.
Danish warlord Cnut’s jovial persona belies a savvy and calculating mind, and his ambition holds no bounds. Cousin to Ragnar, his hunger for power proves to be stronger than familial ties as he manipulates those around him in the struggle for supremacy.
THEA SOFIE LOCH NÆSS
Bloodthirsty, violent and magnetic, Skade is capable of cruelty unlike anything Uhtred has ever seen before. As Bloodhair’s lover and sorceress, Skade is believed to be able to see the future for him and is his most prized possession. From the moment Uhtred crosses her their lives become entwined and her chilling powers of manipulation ensure she holds a dangerous influence over him - Uhtred must find a way to control her, or risk losing everything.
A fearsome and impressive sword-Dane, famed for his battle ritual of sacrificing a horse to Thor and soaking his hair in its blood. Quick tempered and proud, Bloodhair’s weakness is his woman - the vicious sorceress Skade - and his desire for her leads him to risk power, reputation and even life itself.
Ragnar and Uhtred’s sister, held prisoner by Kjartan and Sven in their impenetrable fortress of Dunholm. Damaged by the loss of her family and abuse by her captors, Thyra has lost all hope of freedom and happiness, and chooses to live in a dank cell, with only the hounds of Dunholm for company.
Guthred’s headstrong and passionate sister. Guthred means to marry her to someone for political gain, but she and Uhtred have other ideas. Thoughtful and intuitive, Gisela knows Uhtred better than he knows himself, and Uhtred’s love for Gisela is unlike that he has ever known. However, the course of their romance does not run smooth, and both must overcome monumental obstacles if they are to build a life together.
The nephew of Leofric, who fell at the battle of Ethandun. As Alfred’s bastard son, he is destined to live out a quiet life in the church. However, Osferth has ambitions to be a warrior and though he isn’t a natural fighter, Uhtred gives him a chance to prove that he possesses the courage of his late uncle, who was Uhtred’s dearest friend and bravest comrade in battle.
A tenacious fighter who left the thrill of battle in favour of a life in the church, Pyrlig is a gregarious priest experienced in matters of both love and war. Uhtred takes a shine to him, and the two find themselves side-by-side as ambassadors for Alfred’s cause in matters of the grave political severity.
Uhtred’s uncle, Aelfric, took control of the fortress of Bebbanburg usurping Uhtred. Aelfric is venal, scheming, and power hungry. He sees Uhtred as a threat to his claim on Bebbanburg and is committed to his demise.
Murderer of Uhtred’s Danish family and captor of Thyra. Feared lord of the fortress of Dunholm, he is known as ‘Kjartan the Cruel’. Unfazed by his enemies, Kjartan is ruthless and devious in his schemes to crush all those who oppose his standing as a great lord of the north.
Dane who is chosen to be a Christian king of Cumbraland and unite the tribes of Dane and Saxon. Sold to a slave trader, Alfred arranges his release in order to build allies in the north. Affable, funny and intent on being a good king, Guthred also has a ruthless streak that will lead to a betrayal of those he holds dear.
Halig earned his stripes with Uhtred at the battle of Ethandun, and has been his faithful servant ever since. Trusting, light-hearted, and likeable, Halig is also brave and fiercely loyal, and will follow Uhtred at the cost of all else.
ODDA THE ELDER
Odda the Elder is King Alfred's most trusted and senior Ealdorman. A politically astute and fiercely loyal adviser, Odda shares King Alfred's suspicion of Uhtred.
A hulking Dane, Uhtred trains Clapa for king Guthred’s army of Cumbraland. He’ll become one of Uhtred’s best fighters, but his savagery in battle belies a warm heart and loyalty to his comrades that holds no bounds.
A fearsome Northman and leader of men, adept at plundering and conquering Northumbrian land. Aggressively ambitious, Sigefrid sets his sights on a higher prize that will shake Alfred’s kingdom to its very core. Sigefrid’s burning intensity and appetite for destruction can only be tempered by his brother, Erik, with whom he shares a fiercely close bond.
Northman warlord, brother of Sigefrid. More considered and contemplative than his violent brother, Erik and Uhtred form a precarious understanding and mutual respect. Kind and loyal, Erik’s compassion and faithfulness leads him into deep waters.
STORRI THE SORCERER
The long service sorcerer Storri is always on hand to advise superstitious Ubba. He knows Ubba will not act unless the omens are favourable, and is under pressure to give the answer Ubba wants.
A trusted Saxon, warrior Leofric is Odda the Elder's military man. Weathered and worldly, Leofric is straight talking, uncomplicated, but far from stupid. Leofric initially dislikes Uhtred and gives him the nickname 'Arseling', but a close bond is soon struck between them.
OLE CHRISTOFFER ERTVAAG
Enemy of Uhtred and abuser of Thyra. Spoilt and arrogant, Sven ‘the one-eye’ lacks the cunning of his cruel father, Kjartan, but his malice should not be underestimated. An enemy of Uhtred’s since childhood, Sven’s cowardly nature is put to the test when they meet again.
Pompous and powerful priest who claims to have seen St Cuthbert selecting Guthred to be the King of Cumbraland in a vision. The abbot is deeply disapproving of Uhtred, and seeing his popularity as a threat to King Guthred’s influence, turns Guthred against him, with shocking consequences.
One of Cornish King Peredur’s two wives, Iseult is a ‘shadow queen’; a beautiful sorceress with magical powers.
Iseult captivates Uhtred from the first moment they meet, and teases him with visions of his future. Mysterious, cool, and slightly aloof, Iseult is a world away from Mildrith, and Uhtred is powerless to resist her charms.
Uhtred’s wife, and Odda the Elder’s godchild, Mildrith is good-natured, trusting, and beautiful. A very devout Christian, she is generous and committed to the workers on her estate. Mildrith is ashamed of the debt to the church that she inherited from her deceased father. Her piety grows the longer she is with the untamed pagan Uhtred, driving a wedge between them.
THOMAS W. GABRIELSSON
A Danish warlord and Ubba's second in command, Guthrum is a man of quiet intensity. Known as 'The Unlucky', Guthrum is a surly and strange man who takes his mother with him wherever he goes - he keeps one of her rubs in his hair. Four, relentlessly pessimistic with a dry sense of humour, Guthrum is a cold hearted killer, but his belligerence hides a conflicted soul.
A formidable and infamous Danish warlord, Earl Ragnar is fearless, charismatic and a natural leader, but also a warm hearted family man. Devoted to his children, he doesn't hesitate to take Uhtred under his wing, seeing a spark and courage in the Saxon boy, and raising him as his own.
Earl Ragnar's elderly father Ravn is a 'Skald' - a Danish poet and wise man. With his considerable life experience he is philosophical about the struggles of the Danes, and imparts his wisdom on young Uhtred, who along with Brida often acts as the blind Ravn's eyes.
The most senior ranking Dane, Ubba is a mountain of a man and a ferocious warrior. As a boy Uhtred is warned never to fight him. Ubba is loud, brash, violent, playful, and a little unhinged. He does, however, have a weakness – his superstition and reliance on his sorcerer, Storri.
Uhtred's father, Lord Uhtred, is ruler of Bebbanburg fortress and lands in the kingdom of Northumbria. A serious and rather distant man whose commitments to Bebbanburg leave little time for his two sons. Lord Uhtred is a formidable fighter and leader of men, and young Uhtred struggles to win his father's affection and approval.
ODDA THE YOUNGER
Odda the Younger lives in the shadow of his respected father, but has few of his qualities. Slippery, dishonourable and morally corrupt, he wants the quick and easy path to power and success, and his ambition leads him in to deep waters.
King Edmund rules the kingdom of East Anglia. A proud but gullible man, he trusts the Danes to pass through his kingdom peacefully. A devoted Christian, he tries to convert the Pagan Danes and pays a high price.