It is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga that in 1153 Earl Harald and his men were caught in a snowstorm in Orkney. They took shelter in the mound of Orkahaugr and there two of them went mad.
Nearly nine hundred years have passed with no explanation for what happened to those men under the mound. Until now. During the Yule season of 1153 Malcolm mac Alasdair is sent to serve the half-Scots, half-Viking Earl of Orkney, who is on a quest to regain his earldom from a treacherous cousin. Malcolm is an artistic boy with no knack for warfare. He is certain that he will only hinder the young earl and get himself killed in the bargain. His father’s reason for sending him on the dangerous venture does nothing to allay his fears: in a vision he has seen Malcolm go to Orkney with Earl Harald. But the vision is incomplete. He has not seen Malcolm return. This unique novel masterfully blends the historical and archaeological record with medieval Norse beliefs in the story of a boy who journeys to the edges of his world to take on fate, the matter of honour and powers he never dreamed existed.