The time is the 13th century and the scene shifts from Scotland to Scandinavia and ranges all over the known trading routes of the time. Young Hugh is 14 and a bit of a prig who has just returned to his family after serving as a page. He has his heart set on a career as a knight, but his father wants him toughened up which leads to his voyages with Arne, a Norwegian trader. Arne's son Biorn is just Hugh's age and so is his stepson Ljulf. The story becomes secondary to details of seafaring and trading but remains active. The characters are more bourgeois than burly, and an essential shaggy strength missing in them is also missing from the storyline. Hugh's year of voyaging and the jealousy between Ljulf and his step-brother and Hugh's part in it pad out a successful year which leads to Hugh's return home to become the squire of a seafaring knight. Yo-ho-hum with archeologically documented background.