A virile treatment of the story of King Olaf of Norway (circa 1025) as seen through the worshipping eyes of twelve-year-old Helgi, removed by his seafaring uncle. Thorarin, from iceland to serve the ill-fated monarch. Once accepted in the king's service, Heigi becomes page and companion to the king's young half-brother Harald, and is introduced to the court, with its songs and pageantry; to the intrigue resulting from Olaf's attempt to unite his kingdom, and to the king himself, alternately wise judge and victim of extreme despair. Helgi's devotion leads him to support the king in his last battle as one of the king's own guard. A well-told tale with rumblings from the old sagas and a twentieth century concern with the psyche of the king. Perhaps too blood-thirsty for some (there is a startling decapitation not for those with a low nausea threshold), but a roaring good yarn in all.