The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow

Rolf, a superb archer, seeks to clear his name and avenge his father's murder. Rolf, an expert archer, lives with his father and mother in Iceland. They struggle to make ends meet, their grand house being the last remnant of their former glory and wealth.  The father, Hiarandi, attributes their misfortunes to a family curse. Rolf does not believe in magic or witchcraft but soon realizes that they are indeed threatened, and everyone plots against them. 
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Rolf's uncle steals money, but Hiarandi is forced to pay it back.  He does not want to, but powerful, dishonest Einar, who covets Hiarandi's land, takes him to court to settle the matter.  Rather than become an outlaw, Hiarandi accepts his punishment.  However, Einar sets up Hiarandi's murder several months later.

Rolf sets off to find his father's killer, challenging the best archers to contests.  He succeeds... in angering Einar, who outlaws him as well.  Having neither friends nor fortune, Rolf sails for the Orkney Islands.

After surviving pirates and shipwreck, Rolf arrives in the Orkneys.  After a heroic deed, he wins his freedom, and is a hunted man no longer.  Before he can leave, outlaws besiege the Orkneyingers, but Rolf, equipped with a wonderful bow, holds them off and wins the bow for himself.

Rolf then meets his conniving uncle, Kiartan, again.  Before he can flee, Kiartan is dragged off by the Scots.  On the other hand, Rolf begins a more enjoyable adventure.  He travels on the ship with the Scots and their leader, Earl Thorfinn, and hopes to bring Kiartan to justice.

However, on the journey, rifts develop between Rolf and his companions, so Rolf returns to Iceland.  He is wrecked on the treacherous rocks and brought before a gleeful Einar, who has grown even more rich and powerful in Rolf's absence.  However, Rolf manages to escape although he loses his bow.

The story looks to be ending sadly, as Rolf quarrels again with his friend, who sides with Einar.  Words come to blows, but ultimately their friendship prevails and they make peace.
Best part of story, including ending: The author switches from past to present these, which can get annoying.

Best scene in story: Hiarandi lights a beacon to guide a ship away from the rocks. This is a hard decision because he makes a living by collecting the goods of shipwrecks. However, his empathy and kindness win and he builds a huge bonfire, saving the lives of the sailors.

Opinion about the main character: Rolf's motives are not especially noble or courageous. He is only hunting for his father's killer, driven by hate and a sense of injustice.

The review of this Book prepared by michaela chai a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   wrongly accused clearing name Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Age 11-14

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   a teen


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Scandinavia

Writing Style

Weird Victorian/Shakespearean English?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow

Allen French Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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