The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Sundering Flood combines a heroic fantasy plot with a story of sundered lovers brought back together. It is the tale of Osberne Wulfgrimsson, who at the age of thirteen meets two people who will be key figures in his life. Steelhead gives him strength beyond his years and helps him acquire the wisdom to use it wisely, and he falls in love with Elfhild. The two lovers live on opposite sides of the Sundering Flood, a river that rages so forcefully that no one for miles in either direction has ever crossed it.

The lovers abide by this physical separation for five years, meeting at the Bight of the Cloven Knoll. Elfhild tells him stories of the Dwarves and of heroes of old time, while Osberne composes songs for her about his exploits. In his first trip out of the Dale, Osberne goes to Eastcheap, where he fights on behalf of the town and its people against the tyrannical local baron; in this, as in all of his combats, he shows that he is a man on whom fate has smiled. Fate is not so kind to Elfhild, however. One day, the evil Red Skinners invade her homeland and abduct her and the Carline, her aged companion. Osberne and his men at arms can strike back only at the few who come within bowshot of the eastern riverbank.

Devastated by Elfhild’s abduction, Osberne sets off to seek what fortune and his strong right arm may offer. In Eastcheap, he meets Sir Godrick of Longshaw, who lives far down the Sundering Flood to the south, near where...

(The entire section is 547 words.)