For Freawaru, proud daughter of Danish King Hrothgar, growing up in a sixth-century Viking settlement should be a wonderful adventure. Blessed with a strong mother and a loving nurse, she also bears a birthmark that promises future power. Only the arrival of her treacherous cousin Hrothulf, who intends to become a rival for her father's attention, mars her happiness. But Freawaru has no hint of what is about to come.
Without warning, darkness envelops Freawaru's innocence and brings unimaginable terror as a night-stalking monster invades the mead hall. When a stranger arrives and off ers his assistance to aid the kingdom in fi ghting the Grendel with magic, runes, and, shockingly, poison, everyone wonders if Unferth can live up to his promises. Meanwhile, two other contenders enter the picture: Beowulf, a boastful warrior who pledges to kill the monster with his bare hands; and Ingeld, a feuding rival chieftain who gives his word to lay aside his thirst for blood vengeance in order to save the kingdom from evil.
Each man presents a challenge to Freawaru, whose path ahead seems unclear. With her survival at stake, Freawaru must decide whom she can trust-before it is too late.