A novel about Columbus' young manhood, which carries him to middle age and the successful end of his six-year appeal to Isabella for three ships to cross the Atlantic. Once afloat, the tale catches a lively wind. At an early age he became adept at hiding his feelings; young Christopher had to keep to himself the fantastic stories of Terra Nova told him by Ion Scolvessen, a Norwegian who had crossed the North Atlantic in a Viking ship and whose people had had commerce with the Indians of Vinland for over 500 years. Eventually, Columbus is hired to do some mapmaking for a cartographic studio, looks up Scolvessen, and sails with him to the Norse community in Terra Nova. Scolvessen is a moody, wittily sardonic mariner drawn with a certain sophistication. Christopher spends nearly a year in Terra Nova disguised as a Franciscan monk, sires an Indian child, and at last returns to Europe to outfit the return expedition. Huntford revives the old hypothesis of Columbus' preview of the New World and provides intrigue, adventure, devirgination-- all enjoyable.