Ultimate Vikingsnovel - Historic Epos - Cult Book,
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....
....as 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.