Chapter 7 – The Book

The Book

Jon’s Room

Without speaking, Bruce gave Walden three rolls of the good toilet paper.

He stood a head taller than Walden, with such a bulk it made Walden think Big Bruce the orderly must play pro football in his spare time.


Walden passed one roll to Jon through a crack in the bathroom door.

“Snorri had his own toilet, you know,” Jon said. “At Reykholt. He didn’t have to do his business sitting on a plank over a pit or on a long six holed bench with annoying neighbors. He made himself his own little hot tub too, outside the back door. Filled with natural thermal waters right up from the ground.”

Walden nodded at the closed bathroom door.

“He might have got away,” Jon continued, “if he could have just made it to that door.”

“Got away? From whom?”

“From Gissur and his thugs of course. I’ve written it all down and it’s written in other places too. How Snorri met his end. Hacked to death down in his own basement hallway.”


“Of course, who else would I be talking about. It’s all in The Book; I’ve written the whole thing down. You’ll get it, now that your father is gone. It will be yours to study and pass on. He would be your, let me think, your twenty-first great grandfather. My nineteenth.”

Walden had heard many stories about his Icelandic ancestors. Jon’s expertise on the subject was well known in local circles and by other historians. He had researched and taught about the Old Icelanders for decades, at the university, and took great pride in his knowledge of Icelandic ancestry. But there was more than just the teaching. The bond to his ancient genes was, for him, a chain that lived down through time from the past, to the present and on into the future, like a continuous link that traversed time as if past present and future existed together. Knowledge that must be passed on or would cease to exist. He knew this since the time he was a very young child and his grandmother showed him a thousand year old vellum covered book inscribed with the line of their family to the days of the first settlers on the volcanic island. A book that was passed to his father and was to be passed to him, but never was. The priceless family artifact was sold to a collector for a pittance and was lost to him forever. Now all he had to pass on of their family legacy was the book he had written himself, The Life and Times of Snorri Sturluson.

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