Dane is a viking, son of a local war leader, but he is not sure he wants to fill his father's stern and serious shoes. He is fun loving and likes to make jokes. He needs to choose a epithet to go with his name. He considers Dane the Dangerous, or Dane the Insane. When his sweetheart is stolen by an evil prince, and Dane's father is killed because of Dane's mistakes, Dane goes on a crusade to save his girl and win back his honor, and in the process finally earns the name, Dane the Defiant.
This is an odd book. The story is stereotypical enough. It is the classic hero's quest with all the standard elements: the reluctant hero, the damsel in distress, the wise councilor, the evil villain. But the tone of the book is at the same time melodramatic and "tongue in cheek". The author adds in a bunch jokes that are anachronistic. There is plenty of potty humor, too. It has all the elements thought to appeal to a 5th of 6th grade boy. On the other hand, in some ways it is over-the-top violent. The main characters are whacking off heads and limbs with no compunction or remorse. Part of the way through, I thought to myself, "if this book were made into a live-action movie, and all the scenes were portrayed as written, they would have to make it R rated." Overall, the book reminds me of a novelization of a second rate computer game. That said, I must admit I enjoyed the book. It is witty and clever and the characters where dimensional and, well, likable. (320 p)