Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Eirik, Olav’s heir apparent to the estate, covets Hestviken’s land and buildings and reacts with anger and jealousy to any perceived threats to his right to inherit them. However, Eirik fails to perform his share of farm work, and household workers make fun of his lies and boasting.
Rundmyr. Farm near Hestviken that is overseen by Olav and occupied by the mentally deficient Arnketil and the corrupt Liv. A “den of iniquity,” this site of slovenliness, thievery, and profligacy contributes to the corruption of Eirik. Olav can reform neither the farm nor Eirik’s character.
Torhild Björnsdatter’s farm. Home of Olav’s former mistress at Auken. Contrasting completely with Rundmyr, this household is a place of virtue and accomplishment. Olav twice crosses the fjord to visit it, and each time is favorably impressed by Torhild’s hard work and resourcefulness in managing the property. When Swedes invade Norway, the women of Hestviken flee to Torhild’s farm for safety. Like Torhild herself, the farm stands for strength and resiliency.
*London. Capital city of England, which Olav visits. The novel provides a detailed account of London in the fourteenth century: the sights, sounds, and smells of its streets, its harbor, its markets, and its diverse population. Olav finds the city invigorating, a place in which to renew his downcast spirit. At a Dominican church in London Olav becomes infatuated with a young woman who resembles his late wife, Ingunn. After Olav leaves London, he wanders into a church attended by poor people and realizes that riches matter little when it comes to one’s relationship to God. His pilgrimage to a shrine north of London leads him to understand that he has wrongly taken advantage of friends.
*Oslo. Norwegian city that bears the brunt of the Swedish invasion in 1308. The novel shows a masterful grasp of the locations and tactics of skirmishes and battles that eventually lead the invaders to withdraw. Though badly wounded in the face, Olav comes away from the battle exultant because he has fought valiantly for his homeland.