Barbarian Lord eventually settled down to a grimly Nordic tale of revenge, poetry and violence with the hero encountering vengeful spirits, bandits and trolls.
The thing that made the book standout was the passages of verse inspired by the skalds. Birds form a kind of chorus to the action and talk in this stylised form and Barbarian Lord himself must display his poetic abilities to win back his stolen farm.
The various death speeches are excellent exercises in pathos. My favourite was the rather bathetic final line of a character who ends up with a sword embedded in his skull: "I have long wanted to possess a sword of this quality".