Thorfinn, a crofter’s son living on the remote island of Norday, is a dreamy boy: ‘idle and useless’ according to his teachers. Bored by school, happier wandering the shores of his island home, he escapes into the limitless world of his imagination. Closing his eyes in the 1930s he dreams of crossing the ‘fish-fraught’ ocean with Viking raiders. Falling asleep to the monotonous tones of a history lesson he finds himself running from the press gang into the arms of a beautiful seal-maiden who longs to return to the sea. War and adventure, the struggles of great men and the everyday toil of the fisherfolk, Thorfinn dreams the sweep of Norday’s history, its life and its inevitable death.