Local author Jeff Foltz’s new book “Birkebeiner” portrays a mother’s timeless and primal compulsion to protect her child. Set in 13th-century Norway, it is a fictional account of an historical event that modern Norwegians revere.

Two years after her son Hakon’s birth, Inga, wife of the Birkebeiner leader King Hakon, realizes that the Crozier army will overrun her home, the fortress of Lillehammer. Inga knows that the Croziers will kill her child because he is the prince who may ascend the throne and unite the country. To save little Hakon, King Hakon asks his two best warriors to flee with his son for the safety of Nidaros (present-day Trondheim).

It is a long and dangerous journey on skis through two treacherous winter valleys and over a 7,000-foot snow-blown mountain. Willing to risk everything for her son, Inga insists on going with them. For eight harrowing exhausting days, they are pursued by a cadre of enemy soldiers bent on killing her child. Magnus, the Croziers’ military leader whom the church and the bishop call King — and who has lost his own wife and 2-year-old son — must lead the chase.

Foltz, a capable Nordic skier who lives in Camden, traveled to Norway to ski terrain similar to that which the story’s main characters would have experienced. He also researched with Cornell University’s Nordic History Library, the Oslo National Library and the Holmenkollen Ski Museum in Oslo, Norway. This novel was his creative thesis at the University of Southern Maine’s nationally ranked MFA, The Stonecoast Creative Writing Program. Foltz graduated from Stonecoast in 2004.

Foltz’s book is available at Amazon, on Kindle and at BirkebeinerTheNovel.com. It will be available soon in Maine’s bookstores and on Barnes&Noble’s Pubit! eBookstore.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.