Crippled fifteen-year-old Beorn listened in awe when the famous visiting warrior volunteered to rid Edwin of the monster that haunted his kingdom and preyed on his people. But when Beowulf invited Beorn to serve as his thane, the boy could hardly believe his good fortune. Cripples were usually left in the hills to die; certainly one could never hope to attain a thaneship, for which physical prowess was a prime prerequisite. In the grueling months ahead Beorn justified the ring-Lord's confidence with his valor and loyalty, helping to avert King Edwin's assassination as well. Though the conversion of the kingdom of Northumbria to Christianity is the author's real focus, he provides a good boys' adventure story as well, one which blows the breath of life into 7th century England's gloomy atmosphere.