Brightfire covers important events during and after the reign of King Raedwald of Sutton Hoo and is set mainly in and around his homestead, with some scenes set in Northumbria and elsewhere. The story is set in the period AD 608 to 633, when Christianity is struggling to take hold on the eastern side of Britain. In this sequel to Storm Frost, Niartha remains a key character and so does her son Ricberht, now a goldsmith, through Brightfire can stand alone. Eorpwald, Raewald's son, is hostile to Christians, jealous of other successful young men (including Ricberht) and is a cruel bully in spite of all his father's efforts to master him during his lifetime. When Raewald dies, no one can control Eorpwald. Even his own people are in danger. We see fighting and feasting, rescue and rape, cruelty and kindness, laughter and grief in a story that rises to a strong climax.