Bjorn Horsa and a group of his loyal men are being housed in the castle under King Olaf. To fulfill the ancient prophecy and spare the people of ruin, Bjorn must not seize the crown which is rightfully his. Instead, he must show the stubborn king that the only way to spare the land is to peacefully turn over his rule to Bjorn, Eiathan’s Heir.
As one disaster follows another, the people of Astarkand grow desperate. Bjorn continues to seek the Dreamsender, believing the prophecy will come to pass only if he chooses a path of nonviolence. Struggling to stay one step ahead of the king and his plots, Bjorn and his men travel the countryside helping those beneath Olaf’s notice. The king’s army frays and the people continue to suffer, but Olaf’s vise-grip on his kingdom never wavers. Bjorn clings to his faith desperately, longing to save the people and lead them into peace and prosperity once more.
Known to the people as Prince Dragonsbane, Bjorn Horsa is everything a good prince ought to be. He is kind and courteous, yet strong and courageous. His men follow him loyally but take care to check any foolish judgment that their leader might make. While Kercher shows a remarkable knack for filling each scene with fine detail and firmly anchoring the story in a fantastic, medieval-type of setting, sometimes the details overrun the plot. In the king’s absence, his son obsesses over the schedule for guard duty. Bjorn and his men provide supplies to help outcast widows and orphans escape to new lives. They discuss how many wagons, wheels of cheese, and bags of flour might be needed, details which add a certain amount of richness but slow the forward motion of the story to a crawl. Despite this, fans of medieval settings will enjoy the attentive details and will find it difficult not to like the good prince.
The prince and his men worship the Dreamsender, another name for the Christian God. Scripture references are laced throughout the story. King Olaf and his followers worship a dark god called Woden who demands human sacrifices. Few details are given about these rituals.
There are some scenes of battle violence, but no graphic details are given about any of these encounters.
References to wine and beer.