When fifteen year old Runolf came into possession of the sword Gudrun Gore, he only noted in passing it was splintered and rusted. He had first been shown it by an elderly, bedraggled old man who had told him of the sword's invulnerability and had described and glorified the heroism of his youth. When Runolf had to escape from his sheltered little island, he found the old man dead, took Gudrun Gore, and set out to be a warrior. The noble prince he came to serve was greedy, grasping, and cowardly. So were the lords the two dealt with. But it was not until his chance to do battle that Runolf realized the obsolescence of his dreams--deserted by his comrades he attacked a castle only to fall flat on his face and drop his sword when he tripped over the threshold. The story is set around Scotland and the Hebrides at the time of the Scandinavian invasions during the late Middle Ages. It is not quite satirical in tone, but offers a strong sense of realism about a period often beclouded by legend, and will probably be particularly enjoyed by those who have some familiarity with the historical background.