Like Brendan the Navigator (1979), this sprightly bit of biography is "drawn from an old legend, much of which is certainly true." The Irish monk Columba, goes the story, had such a great love for books, in those sixth-century days when "books were hard to come by," that he secretly copied out a volume from his friend's private collection. The friend, claiming property fights, took him to court; and when the High King ruled against him, Columba called his chieftain father's army to battle. Columba won the battle, but was then so overcome with remorse (three thousand of the king's men lay dead) that he exiled himself to a Northern island, vowing never to set eyes on Ireland again--a vow he kept, for when called back to mediate in another dispute he wore a blindfold for the occasion. This is told with the Fritz ease and some color, but St. Columba's story doesn't yield up A the tales that Brendan's did. An agreeable extra.