The second book in Tim Severin's thrilling historical adventure series set in Saxon times. Sigwulf, a Saxon prince who has found himself at the court of King Carolus in France, is summoned by the royal advisor. A rare white elephant has been sent as a gift from the Caliph of Baghdad - and Carolus is determined to send an embassy to the Caliph bearing presents of equal prize to encourage good political relations. Sigwulf and his companions Osric and Walo are sent on a deadly mission to search the wild northlands of Europe for the rarest of creatures for the Caliph, including a giant, lethal wild ox, elusive hunting falcons and polar bears. Every animal they capture must be white, the royal colour of Baghdad. But it seems that someone is trying to prevent the embassy from succeeding. As they set out with their menagerie of creatures across the hot, dusty roads to the Middle East, Sigwulf finds them ambushed at every corner.