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BLOOD FEUD by Rosemary Sutcliff


by Rosemary Sutcliff

Pub Date: June 10th, 1977
ISBN: 0525267301
Publisher: Dutton

Remarkably wide-ranging yet tightly cast, Sutcliff's cross-cultural chronicle takes her orphaned hero Justyn Englishman from a Celtic outpost to Saxon Britain, on to Viking slavery in Dublin, and then, freed, home to Norseland with his former master Thormod—and with him across the Baltic and down river to Constantinople, drafted en route to fight for Byzantine Basil II. The blood feud of the title is thrust upon Thormod on his return home from Dublin, making him the sworn enemy of his former best friends—two brothers whose father's accidental death began the feud and whom Thormod, to avenge his father's death, now pursues to Constantinople. Justyn becomes blood brother with Thormod and takes up his feud as well, but it is not until Thormod is killed much later that he feels it as his own—and not until the end, when Justyn is peacefully learning medicine in Constantinople, that he consciously passes up his chance for vengeance. It is the feud that impels the action and charts the voyage, but the action is never separated from the historical/cultural context. What impresses once more is the way Sutcliff integrates individual contingencies and choices with the larger currents and Clashes, and contains it all in each sharply differentiated, immediately visualized scene.