Sometimes it’s best to go back to the beginning. So, for my friends who have not begun reading the trilogy, here is the prologue. I hope it piques your interest. MG
June 4, 1016 Latitude 49 N, the New World
IN THE SCINTILLATING bright light of a raging bonfire the Norsemen pushed the small replica of a Viking warship out onto the water. Its sole occupant, their once-revered holy man, and his earthly possessions, glided off into the darkness, a fading image in the flickering light. A gentle breeze pushed the ship-coffin eastward toward the center of the lake. As the fire’s power to illuminate the watercraft diminished, the brilliant full moon reflected light through the clear cold air, and the warship seemed an eerie apparition. Soon small waves found the holes near the water line and the coffin gradually began to sink. Icy water caressed the corpse and the written record embraced by rigid arms. The lake slowly covered the body in a wet, dark shroud and eventually flooded the sockets of the burnt-out eyes.
Halvdan, brother of Eigil the lost one, watched his priest entombed within the Viking replica as the vessel’s pale image shrank in profile. He felt a strange loss, a confusing frustration. What form of change, what spirit of Loki, had invaded his priest and stolen his brother? Anger grew like a fire in his breast. Halvdan was a man accustomed to profane slaughter. A man who had raped and pillaged without thought of remorse. But now, he could do nothing to avenge his priest or his brother. Both were gone, their entrance into the realm of Valfather denied, for they had not died in glorious battle. Instead, they were condemned to an unknown spirit world of endless torment. Halvdan gripped the hilt of his sword, wanting to lash out at something, someone. His jaw muscles tightened like cords of torture.
Finally, the floating apparition disappeared into the black water. The surface of the lake became smooth again, except for small wind wavelets. The little ship, and the priest within it, sank thirty feet below the surface to the soft mud bottom. It would be days before the vessel would immerse completely in the lake’s deep sediment: organic-rich silts and clays slowly oozing in and forcing the water out. And then a process of preservation would take place. The temperature of the lake’s water would seldom rise above fifty degrees; most of the time it would be just above freezing. And the biological blueprint of the man-beast would be preserved within the sediment, locked away within the nuclei of each body cell for a thousand years. But the priest’s progeny, spawned among the wanton maidens of the North American Viking colony, would live almost forever. This was his legacy to the world – and his curse. A curse inadvertently cast upon his cherished brethren – and upon the entire human race.