This first novel by M. H. Davis undoubtedly contains evidence of an enormous amount of painstaking research into the early history of Scotland, the setting of a long and confusing story of tribal intrigue and primitive violence. Doireann nighean Muireach, a princess of the clan of the macDumbnulls, is sold by her hated foster brother Calum to a band of raiding Vikings, led by a giant of a man Thorsten Jarl, who belongs to a sect possessed by the magic strength of the bear. Forcefully taken by Jarl and bearing his child, Doireann is finally rescued by her Pict friend Barra and returns to become embroiled in the complicated wrangles of the northern tribes alternately at war with each other- or the marauding Vikings. Jarl vows to retrieve his wife and in the process is involved in battles of closely described brutality. Finally the tribal chiefs, who see Doireann as the source of their troubles, abandon her to the Viking- now miraculously gentled by the dying wish of his lieutenant Sweyn. Rejected by her own people, she returns in resignation with her child to her Norse husband. . . . Weak in characterization and motivation, the story is largely a vehicle for the description of life in primitive Scotland.