donderdag 27 maart 2014

Book Review: Viking - Odinn`s Child by Tim Severin

I finished one of the books I picked up last december in Canterbury from a charity store, and even though I haven`t been reading as much as I like too, this book is an entertaining read.

Tim Severin, historicus, explorer and writer, is known for his fiction and non-fiction works that track the life and adventures of (fictional) persons, like the Trail of Marco Polo.

The Viking trilogy is the tale of Thorgills (yes, i got my Mitgardian Lego MOC ship`s name from the book) Leifsson, a person that has actually existed in history and who was the son of Leif the Lucky and an Irish noblewoman said to have possessed the visions power, or seidr in Norse mythology.

Odinn`s Child is the first of the series (I lack part 2 though, so i`m holding off on reading the third instalment until I find it in some bargain basement) and details the early life of Thorgills.  In this book, the tale is spun how he travelled twice to Vinland at a young age (the current United States) where he encountered the Native Americans or `Skraelings`.  Obsessed by Odinn the All-Father, Thorgills grows up as a follower of the Old Ways, and his quest to find out more about his mother leads him to Ireland.

Here he finds himself wound up in the middle of the Battle of Clontarf and the assassination of the High King Brian Boru right after the famous battle.  Taken as a slave, he is then donated to the monastery of St Ciarian`s, to study as a monk.  His knack for languages quickly has him rising through the appreciation of his peers, even though he hides his faith in the Old Ways and passes of as a follower of the White Christ until he falls in love with the daughter of the village leatherworker.

Forced to flee, he encounters perhaps the most influential man of his youth, an irish `law speaker` until the monastery finally catches up with him and banish him from the lands, where he is picked up again by the Norse.

I can`t give to many story spoilers of course, or no-one would read the book, but the style it is written in makes it an amusing venture.  The book weaves fictional stories and mysterious mystic powers well together with accurate historical events, making it both an adventure novel as well as a history lesson, without dwindling down in a boring session of dry facts.

The book itself gives insights in the old Norse lifestyle, and how it is slowly but surely surplaced by the advent of Christianity as the main faith in both Ireland as the old Norse communities.  If you fancy a good bed-time read (or in my case, bath-time reading), see if you can snatch up this book. I certainly hunger for reading part two, so my eye is scouring the net `just in case`.

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