Warfare, honor and brotherhood in this rather wavering novel about two Viking boys, by the author of the excellent Knight of Florence. Sigurd Sturlason and his cousin, lame Erling, find themselves in comradely competition for a beautiful sword with a golden hilt offered by their grandfather for a brave act. Sigurd is awarded the sword, but subsequent events when Sigurd fights in a lost cause for the deposed King of Norway against Danish usurpers and is seriously wounded, prove that Erling has not only wisdom but courage and devotion. On the whole a disappointment -- the boys are lifelessly noble and the lack of distinctive period detail and solid action impair its quality. And why did the author sidestep a Viking battle!