The Burning Land - Bernard Cornwell
The enemy is massing on the borders, a united force for once.
The king, a man of many victories, is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth.
Uthred, the king's champion, leads his country's forces to war, but his victory is soured by personal tragedy and by the envy of the king's court. So he breaks with the king and takes off for the land of his birth, determined to resist all calls for his return. That is, until one unexpected request...
This is the making of England brought magnificently to life by the master of historical fiction.