“First of all, I was quite taken aback when my old student Hunter Ross called me and explained his amazing adventure. I had recently finished a sabbatical at the Univerzita Karlova v Praze (Charles University in Prague) and decided to stay for an extended holiday. I was reluctant, at first, to even look at his discovery after making some calls to colleagues in England and hearing their doubts about the scrolls veracity. Despite the rocky beginning, I am grateful for my involvement with this project.

Although all the scrolls are from around 1000 CE, I noticed obvious differences in age and wear from chest one to chest five. The scrolls in chest one were older and of better quality paper than those in chest five. This suggests that the author composed them over several decades. Given the markedly deteriorating hand writing of the last few scrolls, the author likely finished the work just before his death.

Translating the eclectic writing was time-consuming. The scrolls have a sprinkling of Latin and Greek, but are mostly an eclectic mix of Old English and distorted Norse, a testament to the stormy relationship between the two cultures at that time. The author was highly educated and well traveled as the themes running through the tale are complex and diverse.

R.C. NovotnyI discovered that the scrolls told one complete story. However, given the length of the writings I wanted to devise a way to preserve the original organization while making it practical for publication.

Therefore, the material in chest one I designated, “Book One.” The collective scrolls in chest two were labeled, “Book Two,” chest three became “Book Three ” and on.

Inside each chest the scrolls were further divided. Groups of scrolls, usually five to ten, were bound by rope and a wax seal. The age and design of the rope are consistent with Middle Age England and obviously made with a rope jack machine (this was a mechanical way to braid together smaller strands to make rope). I arbitrarily decided to designate these bundles as “Chapters.”

To conclude, the contents of each chest became a book, and the cluster of scrolls tied together became chapters. Each scroll had a title, I added a numbering system for convenience. I hope you enjoy this tale, this unbelievable gift, as much as I have.

Sincerely, RC Novotny