Young Edward De Clopton is the sole surviving heir to his family's wealth and position in England, but he doesn't want the job. His father thinks he's a bumbling idiot. His enemies think he's the last obstacle to power and wealth. His mentor, one of the most renowned warriors in England, thinks he's an annoying burden. His girlfriend thinks he's a plaything.
Sir William de Clopton has come to defend the Crusaders' last toe hold in the Holy Land only to find it besieged by a terror so great even his supposed enemies have fled. Now he must face history's greatest marauder, Tamir the Lame, and his army who have laid waste a continent. Sir William's only hope lies with a small band of the Knights of St. John and warriors who serves the sworn enemy of his king. They must hold the port of Smyrna at all costs or they, and thousands of innocents, will die horribly.
The summer solstice in the prophesied year of the apocalypse. Snorri Geirolfson sails home with his brother and Viking comrades after a successful raid. A sudden, unnatural storm sweeps out of the North Sea and bolts of mysterious lightning pulverize everyone aboard, except Snorri. Snorri's bad day turns to a night from hell when his shipmates awaken as brain-eating undead. Desperate, he jumps overboard to avoid becoming their main course.