When a friendless old widow dies in the seaside town of Crythin, a young solicitor is sent by his firm to settle the estate. The lawyer finds the townspeople reluctant to talk about or go near the woman's dreary home and no one will explain or even acknowledge the menacing woman in black he keeps seeing.
A Muslim ambassador exiled from his homeland, Ahmad ibn Fadlan finds himself in the company of Vikings. While the behavior of the Norsemen initially offends ibn Fadlan, the more cultured outsider grows to respect the tough, if uncouth, warriors. During their travels together, ibn Fadlan and the Vikings get word of an evil presence closing in, and they must fight the frightening and formidable force, which was previously thought to exist only in legend.