He's the bravest of the Anglo-Saxon heroes, fighting flesh-eating monsters and fire-breathing dragons in the defence of Hrothgar, King of the Danes. Nine-year-old Sophie knows the story of Beowulf well. She has shared it many times with her mother, a professor of Old English. Together, they have learned to read a language that none have spoken in this country for over 900 years. But Sophie is fighting monsters of her own, every bit as terrifying as those that Beowulf must face. Her mother is dying and Sophie's life is changing beyond her control.