by Dorothy Dunnett
Set in Scotland and Orkney, 11th century.
An unusual theory about the identity of the historical Macbeth, and a convincing portrayal of 11th-century Scotland with its dual Norse and Celtic heritage. Battles, intrigues, family rivalries, betrayals and fate, all told with a laconic wit reminiscent of the Norse sagas. The love story between Thorfinn/Macbeth and his wife Groa/Gruoch, which begins as a political marriage to secure the spoils of war and is forged into a relationship of enduring love and trust, is one of my favourites in fiction.