Customer Reviews

5 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Solid Yarn Spinning. Read & Enjoy !, 29 Nov 2004
Capt I. McRae "The Ancient Mariner" (Angus, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Eye of Odin (Paperback)
If you're looking for high literature, you won't find it here, as Jim Larson is never going to be acclaimed as the greatest exponent of the English language. However, he is a master of the craft of yarn spinning. I found this novel of Viking times a genuine "couldn't put down". The characters come alive, and there is none of the confusion that one can find in some epic novels. What Nigel Tranter did for Scottish history in novel form, Jim Larson looks like being fully capable of for the Vikings. Superb first novel, great reading, and I can't wait until the next one, called "Wolfgar" is published. I'll be at the head of the queue to buy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Vikingsnovel - Historic Epos - Cult Book, 7 July 2004
This review is from: The Eye of Odin (Paperback)
"1000 years will pass by, until men recall our old gods....
....then the worship of Odin will become more powerfull than ever before!"
(Ragnar Ragnarson, nordic seer and priest, at the end of 10th. Century)
The Norwegian king Hakon I. has been educated like a christian at the royal anglo-saxon court. In the year 950 AD, at the harvest celebrations at the City of Hlader, he doesn't only reject the participation in the victim smeal in the old god's honour, he even makes the sign of a cross towards the holy drink, that has been dedicted to Odin.... reaction to this sacrilege against the gods of Asgard, Thorvald Asvaldson and many other noble an free men take an bloodoath, that they will never accept Christianity.
The main theme of the novel is the foreseen victory of Christianity, that comes together with an etablishment of royal authority, that both have no tolerance of the religion of their ancestors. In distant Iceland, which is a place for refugees, emigrants and banished norsemen, without the ruling of a king, but with freedom of religion, the space for the worshipers of Odin, Thor, Njord and all the others becomes small and smaller...
Beside raids, trading and discovery travels, which could frequently flowing into each other, and a hunter easily could become the hunted, the reader recieves extensive information about the religion and thejuridical system of the vikings. To that belongs the descriptions of victim rituals, the meaning of the Holy Runes an different kinds of divorcing in the old nordic styles. Especially the tasks of the powerfull "Allthing", with the mebership of all free men, executes beside legislation and jurisdiction, also the government of island. (It is really busy with "all things".) Beyond that, the novel shows family- and lovestories an offers also revenge, betrayal, greed, sadism and other depts of soul. Opportunists, that became Christians for utilitarian reasons and who are praying sometimes to the old gods are not missed in the plot, as the black humor, which is particular in these category of novels. Some anachronisms in direct speech of the actors ("assassinate", "pestillence", "tea", "vendetta") are small blemishes, but of no importance for the evaluation of the whole novel.
"The Eye of Odin" is "the ultimate Vikingsnovel", but above also a terrific epos, with an action an historic substance of the years 922 - 986 AD, that turn classical novels like "The Long Ships" by Frans Gunner Bengtsson or "Die Männer vom Meer" by Konrad Hansen pale. The action neither looses it's excitement, as for example in "The Greenlanders" by Jane Smiley, nor it drifts into phantasy spheres like "Vinland Saga" by Josef Nyary, nor it becomes a parody à la "Speckseite's Ostseefahrt" by Knut H. Thomsen. The first novel by James Richard Larsen, who has fullfilled Ragnar's prophecy of Odin's return, as he himself is the new "Valfather's High Priest", has the potential to become a cult book and let the wait for it's continuation ("Wolfgar") with high excitement. Therefore is only the maximum valuation of 5 Amazonstars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5.0 out of 5 stars Viking era Odysse!, 11 Mar 2006
B. Jonsson "Literate Warlock" (falun, dalarna sweden) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Eye of Odin (Paperback)
The Eye of Odin is not your everyday novel, nor is it a novel you read and put on your shelf of recently-read-books as just any other.
This book deserves your full attention, with it's mighty tapestry of the vikings in Iceland. It is rich with characters, filled with both adventures and travels and although we have but little knowledge of the vikings´everyday life, it all feels true. The vikings plot against eachother, go a-viking, plunder, pray to the ancient Gods- just as we would perceive they did.
The Norse tradition and the words-of both characters and places- also feel authentic and easily recognizable for a norseman as myself, all but one. King Harald Harfager, who's name to us noresmen is well known as Harald-the-fair-haired.
The book slowly, but surely takes you from Thorwald's banishment from Norway, through his life in Iceland, to the fate of his son and his sons, so that it ends with Leif, the grandson, renown for his travels to Vinland, the ancient coast of Norhtern America. These travels have long since been known, through the historian Sturlusson (9th century) and have but recently been proven correct.
Give this novel the time and attention it deserves and you will find it hard to put down. I enjoyed it slowly, but that gave me new problems .. First,I didn't want it to end.
Second, How am I going to cope before I can get my hands on the sequel?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5.0 out of 5 stars To go a-viking . . ., 31 Jan 2006
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Eye of Odin (Paperback)
At a time when current literature seems surfeited with either fantasy or self-indulgent whingers, it's a delight to encounter a good fictional account of historical figures. Larson, reaching deep into the past, retrieves the Norse hero, Erik the Red. In school we learned of Erik's Atlantic journeys, but were quickly switched to Columbus as the conveyor of European culture to the Western Hemisphere. When later evidence emerged of Norse settlements in Newfoundland, the old myths gained new status. Now, Larson has brought these distant hints to full life with an engaging tale. Fraught with plots, feuds, exiles and viking raids, this is a fine book to take up on long winter nights.
The story opens with Erik as a teen-ager in 10th Century Norway. The Christians are making inroads on traditional faith. The king, although a Christian scorning pagan beliefs and rituals, is constrained from forcing conversion. Always threatened by Denmark's competitive forces, Hakon must lead his warriors in confronting invasion. Thus, he keeps peace with his nobles, lest they rebel. In the midst of these political and religious confusions, Erik's father, condemned for a killing, is exiled to Iceland, fairer than its name. Maturing on the island, he becomes caught up in feuds typical of the era. One of these conflicts, stretching back to Norway itself, brings Erik to Greenland to found the Norse colony there. Greenland thus becomes the stepping stone for Norse landings in Newfoundland.
Larson panders to no "modernisation" demands in his stirring tale. Viking raiders sought slaves, treasure and the power these brought on return home. Christian monks were slain out of hand and coastal towns ravaged mercilessly. He doesn't gloss over these incidents - they were the norm of the age. Far more significant is Larson's depiction of Christian incursions against the ancestral faiths. Most conversion was by fiat - convert an earl or a monarch and the population must follow. The alternatives were death or exile. Larson points up the tolerance of the "pagan" faith of Odin [or Wotan] in contrast to the absolutism of Christianity. There is a subliminal call for liberality of views here. The call should strike a chord with American readers whose forebears founded colonies to escape religious persecution.
Larson has obviously delved into the available material to underpin his narrative. We are given details on shipbuilding, navigation, trade practices and making war. He's careful not to let the information overwhelm the reader. He provides enough information to set the environment, then smoothly continues the story. And the theme is less the old image of the ruthless Vikings than it is the clash of faiths. Odin speaks through the runes cast by the holy man Ragnar. Ragnar, to his dismay, reads that Christianity will perservere in the Norse lands, leaving him helpless to prevent it. Larson weaves this motif through the text lightly. Neither Christian nor pagan are judged by this author, but only the characters themselves.
There's little to fault in this book. Maps would have helped, but the atlas was at hand. In an historical work these days, a reading list is an added bonus. Even science fiction writers now point to additional information. These are sins of omission, hardly glaring and not something detracting from a stirring tale, well thought out and thrillingly told. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rousing Viking saga, 14 Dec 2004
Deborah MacGillivray "Author," (US & UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Eye of Odin (Paperback)
Set in the year 922, this tale opens with the emissary from King Athelstan of England visiting the Norwegian King Harald. The later presents Athelstan with a beautiful gold and silver sword worthy of a king. But as Harald accepts the sword, Athelstan proclaims " show all men to witness that you are his subject." Naturally, at this slight of hand Harald is less than pleased. Instead of rebuffing the claim without delay, Harald permits Athelstan to depart and return to England. Months later, King Athelstan is holding a festival in London when a messenger arrives from King Athelstan, accompanied by thirty of Harald's men and a small boy. When Athelstan demands to know the meaning of this, the messenger replies that the child is Harald's son by a serving wench and Harald bids him to foster the child. However, Athelstan bides his time and Harald's men were permitted to depart to Norway. Instead of detesting the boy, Hakon, he was raised as a king's son, but in the Christian faith. The ultimate revenge.
Little did Harald foresee that simple case of "ranking" between royals would set forth forces to change the history of Norway. Because Hakon was raised as a Christian, when he returns to a pagan homeland he is determined to stamp out the Old Gods. This results in the banishment of a powerful Viking chieftain condemned for a killing. Thorvald Asvaldsson, and his son Erik set forth on a perilous journey, accompanied by the seer Ragnar. Erik goes on to be known in history as Erik the Red.
Larson, obviously a fan of the Mitchner type saga, gives the reader history, ugliness and all. It's not a "politically corrected" version, but portrays murder, sackings, rape, slavery, beatings...well, history as it was, not how we would like it to be. It shows how Christianity conquered the world by going after the nobles, knowing if they converted them they would make their subjects follow suit.
The style is very strong, with a natural prose that pulls the reader along with the epic tale. Some telling the reader of the story, instead of the action speaking for itself might bother some, but frankly, that was how most historical fiction has been written. Jakes and Mitchner included.
If you're a Viking fan, then you cannot help but envoy a true saga in the old style, making this reader look forward to the sequel in the works, Wulfgar.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Eye of Odin
The Eye of Odin by James Richard Larson (Paperback - 6 Oct 2003)
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews