The Weapons of the Wolfhound was Moyra’s first published book. It was written for teenagers, and was so popular that a sequel was commissioned by the publisher, called The Eye of Calanish.
The Weapons of the Wolfhound contrasts the two major influences on a boy just entering his teens. Neil lives on a farm on the remote island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in the 12th century AD. He makes friends with a Christian hermit living in a rocky cell nearby. The hermit is carving a chess set out of walrus ivory. (This was my initial inspiration for the book. The chess set exists. It was dug up on the Isle of Lewis in the last century and I saw it on display in the British Museum, London). The hermit speaks to the boy about the virtues of forgiveness and peaceful coexistence, and teaches the value of contemplation and prayer. But the visit of a Viking sea captain to the island makes the boy restless and he runs away with him to Iceland. There he encounters a very different life. At first he finds it exciting, but more and more the violence and gory death that is the result of Baldur’s desire for vengeance sickens him, and he is glad to return home, older and wiser.
First published Rex Collings, London in hardback in 1976, ISBN: 0901720771. Availability: Out of Print.