Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons is urgently summoned to the Cape Colony when he learns that the Zulu warrior King Shaka is about to wage war.
Soon Hervey, his old friend Eyre Somervile and their escort of dragoons and mounted rifles are riding north. When they arrive at Shaka's kraal it is a horrifying place. The sentinels at the gates are corpses, and it quickly becomes apparent that he has slaughtered thousands of his subjects - warriors and women alike.
When Shaka is killed by his own people, and the region plunged into civil war, Hervey and his men find themselves in the midst of terrible danger.
Yet worse is to come. Separated from his troop, Hervey must lead Shaka's queen across a hostile land where sanctuary has never seemed further away ...