By Tim Severin

It is Constantinople in 1035, and Thorgils has join the Varangian lifeguard, the place he witnesses the glories of the richest urban on earth. He embarks on a crusade introduced to get well Sicily from the Saracens. After years of touring, Thorgils retreats to Sweden, yet is finally summoned back to aid in coordinating William the Conqueror’s invasion of britain. In September 1066, a Norse fleet of 3 hundred ships sails in the direction of England and the conflict starts. it's a prophetic dream that makes Thorgils warn the troops of the upcoming catastrophe at Stamford Bridge, yet even he can't flip apart what destiny has decreed—the finish of the Viking world.

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This time you want to inform me your identify. ' 'Thorgils Leifsson. ' 'Obviously you are still with the Palace shield. ' 'Back with the protect, extra appropriately, after carrier in Sicily. ' 'So you recognize what this new Caesar is like? in the end, he's, or used to be, your commanding officer. ' I hesitated, and Psellus stated softly, 'You may well communicate freely. this is often an opinion for posterity. i am nonetheless compiling notes for my heritage of the rulers of the empire. ' once more his frank strategy gained my self belief. 'Well,' I admitted, 'from the little i have obvious of him, the Caesar is vindictive and shallow. His one precise expertise is that he's superlative at hiding his precise emotions. ' 'Sounds as if he used to be a great selection for the throne,' stated Psellus with irony. 'I'll make a cut price with you, Thorgils. As a guardsman you typically see issues which we outsiders by no means get to witness. If you can be so variety as to maintain me knowledgeable approximately what's going backstage, I will not fail to remember you whilst the time comes - because it without doubt will - that you just desire a pal in the paperwork. ' And he moved quickly on his manner. Over the following few months, there has been little i may inform Psellus that he shouldn't have saw for himself. Michael's overall healthiness was once in swift decline. His limbs swelled, bloating in order that his palms turned as thick as sausages. to conceal his actual deterioration from public gaze, the Basileus spent much less time within the urban, and withdrew to his state place of abode. He left in the back of the standard intrigues contained in the palace, which grew extra viperish because it turned obvious that he didn't have lengthy to stay. John the Eunuch nonetheless held the true energy, yet a few courtiers started to pander to the younger Caesar, getting ready for the day whilst he fixed the throne. different sycophants coalesced round his favorite uncle, Constantine, one other of the Orphanotrophus's brothers. a number of diehards back paid realization to the empress Zoe, even though she used to be nonetheless restrained to the gynaeceum, the women's quarters, and the Basileus had bring to an end her allowance so she used to be dwelling in close to poverty. nobody relied on a person else, and there has been a growing to be feel that the entire constitution of presidency was once at the brink. I got here to understand how a ways the decay had unfold whilst an authentic arrived within the guardroom overdue one December night. He was once out of breath and flustered. 'I'm trying to find the guardsman Thorgils,' he introduced. "What am i able to do for you? ' I requested. the guy seemed nervously on the different off-duty guardsmen,who have been observing him with open interest. 'You are to choose one trustworthy colleague,' he acknowledged. 'Bring heavy cloaks, and accompany me. ' i peeked at Halfdan. 'Take Lars with you,' he ordered. Lars was once a stolid guardsman who were with the Hetaira nearly so long as Halfdan himself. Lars and that i collected up our guns, and the professional took us, part working, to the workplace of John the Eunuch. We came across him wearing his monk's outfits and able to depart the palace. 'You are to accompany me as an escort in case of trouble,' stated John. 'Be discreet, hide your uniforms, and you can go away your axes in the back of.

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