A kingdom in the distant north in the days of the Hanseatic League. Two sisters and their struggle for the throne and supremacy in Scandinavia.
When the King of Denmark dies in 1375, his daughters, freedom-loving Margaret and ambitious Ingeborg, become power rivals. It's the start of a bitter enmity from which Margaret is initially to emerge victorious. But at a high price, for power also means loneliness.
Because their father, the legendary Danish king Valdemar, is in the throes of death after a hunting accident, 20-year-old Margaret returns to her homeland from Norway. She had been Valdemar's favorite, but he has married this unwilling youngest daughter to the Norwegian king to create a defensive alliance against the Hanseatic League and the German dukes.
With his last breath, Valdemar begs a reluctant Margaret not to leave Denmark to her sister Ingeborg, who's demanding the throne for her German son – and thereby about to hand the once-Viking kingdom to the Germans. For years, the people of the north have been suffering from civil wars and the consequences of the plague. They've had to renounce their pagan faith in Odin and have been forcibly converted to Christianity. Now downfall and slavery are at hand because the German Hanseatic cities and the North German dukes mean to subjugate a weakened Scandinavia and turn it into a colony.
Rivalry between the two sisters breaks out again upon the death of the king. The elder, Ingeborg, had sought her father's favor in vain, for he only ever cared for his youngest. Margarete senses that Ingeborg's basic motive is revenge and suspects that she'll now betray their family to its enemies.
Margarete has no wish to compete against her sister. She doesn't want to trade her freedom for a throne. But the Danish nobles insist that Margaret's son be elected as new king instead of Ingeborg's, and that Margaret shall lead and protect the kingdom as regent. Ingeborg, in turn, has her sister's child kidnapped by pirates.
When Margaret learns that both her husband, King Haakon, and her secret lover, the pirate Thies, are involved in the kidnapping, she decides to ditch both men and take the throne. She's to be the first woman to be crowned "King" of the north.
But on the very day of the coronation, the ships of Ingeborg's German allies appear on the horizon. The battle has only just begun...