To portray the theme of first ventures, the initial efforts that pave the way for later and more successful ones, Mr. Treece takes an early Viking voyage to Britain and describes it in its tragic and heroic outcomes. Thorkill Fairhair is the Norse captain-hero who leads his men south into the unknown. But most of the events are seen through the eyes of Harald, son of an outcast lord who must find something of a new future for himself. Sailing south, there is treachery from Ragnar, the Raven, lying in wait for Thorkill's ship, prophecies of good and evil from the old Lapp wizard and a meeting with the earliest Irish monks who inject a forceful strain of Christianity into the Norse vein. Though Ragnar repents and though the new religion promises much, there is imprisonment and wreck and only Harald is left to return as the bearer of new ideas to his countrymen. Earnest, at times heavy, and of definitely more appeal to serious minded youngsters than those who would adventure with success.