Ambrose, Prince of Wessex; Trader of Kiev, is a story set during the time of the Viking invasions of Europe and Russia. The story chronicles the life of Ambrose, a bastard Saxon Prince of England, and elder brother to Alfred the Great.
Ambrose and his companion, Phillip, are caught and enslaved during a Viking raid on his homeland. They are taken to Frisia and then to Denmark, where they meet a Byzantine slave, Polonius. Ambrose and Polonius are fortunate enough to have kind masters, but Phillip is first abused and then condemned to a terrible death. In order to save the life of his faithful companion, Ambrose must flee both his master and his first love.
The three escaped slaves flee north by boat to Norway, where they land and recover from their arduous journey. Before the snow closes the high passes, however, they trek overland to Sweden and the land of the Rus.
A letter from Ambrose's former master assures a surprising welcome there, but they must once again flee when pursuing Danish ships make port. Sneaking away in the night, they manage to join an expedition of Rus tribesmen who are on their way to take over the Slav city of Novgorod.
The three comrades build a trading post there, appoint a factor, and then take the opportunity to move south with another expedition sailing down the Dnieper River with the intention of colonizing the Slav town of Kiev. On the main trade route to the Byzantine empire, the Viking conquerors of Kiev start to organize both Vikings and Slavs into a federation of tribesmen. The area, just north of the open steppes, is terribly vulnerable to attacks from powerful nomad tribes that roam the steppes to the east and the south.
After settling in Kiev, Polonius marries Kuralla, the Slav chief's daughter whom Ambrose saved from a terrible death. Kiev is perfectly suited to control the trade from the north to the fabled city of Constantinople, and the friends work hard to establish a secure base for their Swedish sponsor, Gunnar of the Rus.
Within a year of arriving, the new settlers find themselves fighting the Pechenegs, a fierce Steppe nation that is, itself, being forced from its traditional territory. Thanks to the mobility offered by the Viking ships, the Slav and Viking allies are able to hold back the savage raiders. Polonius acts as a military advisor, and his ideas allow the Vikings to attack the Pechenegs at their most vulnerable point. With their cavalry decimated by the stubborn river people and their own enemies catching up to them, the Pechenegs flee across the Dnieper and move west.
With the Rus leaders now firmly in control of Kiev and much of the Dnieper River Valley, the dead are buried and reconstruction begins. The Rus have come to stay, and, after long and exciting travels, Ambrose, Phillip and Polonius have found an adopted home.
About the Author
After counselling teenagers and adults for over 40 years, Bruce Corbett retired to concentrate on his writing and photography. To date, he has written a collection of Science Fiction short stories and two Science Fiction novels. His greatest project, however, is his series of historical novels based on a fictional hero, Ambrose, Prince of Wessex, set in the time of Alfred the Great.