The Ring and the Cross mingles history, fiction, and religion, and is based on real people and events in sixth-century France, when Christian Europe was forming on the ruins of the Roman Empire. The three main characters view the same events from different perspectives. The poet Fortunatus begins as a playboy and ends as the saintly bishop of Poitiers, under the spiritual guidance of his beloved St. Radegund. Queen Brunhild, the original of Wagner's Brunhilde, marries a doomed prince and avenges his murder, against the counsel of St. Radegund. As barbarian hordes storm once-civilized lands, ordinary people must rescue what they can of morality and faith, building a Christian Age on the bits and pieces of the past. The book draws implicit connections between that age and our own.