Vemund was ready to return; he bore no shield nor armor; he threw down his bow, and shouted that this should be between whatever weapons each man chose. Then with sword in hand he began to walk to the knoll. Rolf took an arrow from his quiver and laid it on the string.
When Vemund was nearer, Rolf drew the bow; no bow had ever drawn harder, yet none had been so lively in his hand. The arrow sped; Vemund turned not aside, but when the shaft struck his breast the wood flew to splinters and the point fell down. All the Orkneymen cried out in fear, but the baresarks shouted. Rolf took a second arrow and waited a while.
Then he shot again, and the arrow struck Vemund on the throat; it turned aside, and flew sliddering away. Some of the Orkneymen withdrew to the door of the church, crying that they should be let in. But the outlaws began to come forward.
Then Rolf drew one of the arrows from the ground, and wiped the point, and made ready. . .
After Hirandi is unjustly slain, his sixteen-year-old son Rolf is made outlaw by the same murderous neighbors. Rolf flees Iceland with his faithful cousin Frodi, only to be enslaved in the Orkneys by proud Grani. However, when the marauding baresarks arrive, master and slave alike must fight for their lives—and Rolf is the only man who can string the mighty Viking bow.
Allen French's tale of Iceland, told in the classic saga form, is an exciting story of Christian versus pagan values, forgiveness versus pride. The way Rolf comes to terms with his enemies in the face of injustice creates a suspenseful, thought-provoking book difficult to put down.
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