Secret Murder: Who Shall Judge?

| June 11, 2013

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Secret Murder: Who Shall Judge?

In the days of old, life could be cheap. Death, however, could be very expensive.

“There is one problem. And here he comes, at this very moment.”

Yes, Thorolf Pike was trouble. Declared an outlaw and exiled from his home, he had come from Surtsheim, where his fellow Norsemen lived, to Northlanding, where English settlers lived. Now he was dead, by an unknown hand. Who killed him? And, should the murderer be judged by English law, or by Norse law, for the crime of secret murder?

What if, in the middle ages, North America had been settled by Europeans? The Americas would have developed very differently. Settlers from an eleventh-century Europe would have been on a relatively even footing with the local people. We could end up with an Anglo-French empire along the Mississippi up to the head of navigation at Saint Anthony Falls. North of that would be Norse, settling on the Iron Range; and north of the Norse, Finns. Large areas of North America would still belong to the indigenous peoples. Traders would travel about, by land and by river, as traders always have. At trade fairs, men and women of different lands, laws, and customs would come together. As always, jackals would gather to prey upon them …

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