Detective Inspector Ian Peterson works in York. He is faced by the murder of a young woman which was very bloody. She was killed with an axe. Certain insights into the thinking and actions of the murderer indicate that he sees himself as a Viking warrior on a killing spree as he searches for valuables amongst the people of modern York. A modern festival which celebrates York's Viking past is happening as the deaths begin.
The police have little to go on in their search for the perpetrator of the killing and, when further deaths and thefts follow there is nothing to indicate the killer's identity. Ian and his team try hard to get some evidence to link the victims and to find any possible enemies in their pasts. Ian's task is complicated by his home situation - since he has moved to York from London his wife has no friends or outside activities and resents his preoccupation with his job.
Gradually information is aggregated from the murder scenes, the Jorvik museum of the Vikings, the post mortems and the work of a profiler and the team gain enough insight to pinpoint a potential killer in a nail biting finale.
Leigh Russell has written a 7 book series about the detective, Geraldine Steel, and this spin off series about Ian Peterson has 2 previous books.