This is the first in what could become a popular form now that official recognition has been granted to Columbus' predecessors--the Vikings and Indians. The background for the book is based on the sagas of the Karlsefni expedition to the Vinland which Leif Ericson had explored. The details of the rigorous voyage to North America, and the valiant but hopeless attempt by some of the Viking leaders to make a settlement there, make an interesting historical reconstruction and their narrative is holding. Less convincing is the juvenile hero, the stereotype (even though the chronological forerunner) of all the fictional boys who have outwitted the Indian tribes which kidnapped them. Perhaps the Indians weren't yet in practice, but thirteen year old Thrain Nikulas (accompanying the voyage as Skald, or minstrel) manages with surprising ease to overcome his lack of knowledge of Indian lore and cunning and of the local geography, and to slip away after a very brief but relatively harmless enforced stay with the tribe. Just as unlikely is his ability to make his way unaided through the wilderness, and his marathon run back and forth along the coast after the departing, but loitering Viking ship. Although not wholly credible, the story is lively. So are the examples of Thrain's jingle epic verses.