Nancy Farmer’s story tries to show how people actually lived in Viking times. The chief character, Jack, is an eleven-year old boy who lives in a Saxon Village (part of modern England), and is apprenticed to a wise man who begins teaching him magic. While monks have brought Christianity to the village, the old religions are still very much in practice, with the villagers believing in elves and reincarnation. Jack and his little sister are taken as hostages by the Vikings after their raid on the village. Farmer presents the mythology of the Norsemen as real, and one of the Viking kings has married a half-troll– a sister of Grendel’s mother, who was killed in the tale of Beowulf. Trolls are mythical Norse creatures, who can either be dwarfs or giants. The fantastical parts of the story make the medieval beliefs seem reasonable, since they are actually happening in the story. Whether the characters are authentic representations of their time is not as clear, since Jack seems like any boy that you might meet today. The adventure and events do keep the reader’s interest and make for stimulating reading.