Young Ketil's assumption of the nickname Hallowed-Heart as a symbol of his belief that a ""peaceful heart conquers all"" seems a rather unVikinglike conclusion to this mini-saga of patricide, exile and crossed loyalties. But the presence of Odin-worshipping, witchlike Elfreya (strangely, an Irishwoman in contrast to the newly Christianized Icelanders) and of Orm, her infantile, paralytic son (supposedly destined to become a king once the curse of idiocy is lifted) set in motion properly icy and eery vibrations. Ketil and Thordis, who proves more clear-sighted and resourceful than her brother, are foster children in Elfreya's home on Reykja heath, and, after witnessing the double murder of Elffeya's peaceloving husband Halldor and an itinerant missionary, Thordis finds herself in possession of the Hallow-ring -- the key to all Elfreya's plots. One is surprised to find Elfreya's magic so easily thwarted and the saga motifs have been utilized as background without really capturing their tone and spirit. But Kingman generates enough of her own brand of mystery and suspense to snare her full quota of readers.