Between historical research and fictional account, Halsted explores the Viking world from a fresh, new perspective. Tearing past the course stereotypes that Vikings are condemned to, Legend of the Last Vikings: Taklamakan represents a flourishing world of unity, justice and a rich thriving community. Halsted challenges each and every tradition creating a united world of Christians, Muslims and Jews struggling together as one against a common evil in a time before the devastation of the Crusades. Taklamakan pushes boundaries, refusing to believe the world to be divided; this brave and bold narrative dares to confront accepted views. Battling against the swelling seas, the torturous currents, and the sweltering heat of the deserts, Ulf Uspakson scours the land for Ingvar Vittefarne, a lost Viking. Not only does Mother Nature prove to be an obtrusive obstacle, but the menacing and sinister Black Scorpions ruthlessly pursue Uspakson and his men across the edges of the world determined to end their adventures, permanently. Our Viking explorers, with their long flowing blond hair, knee high boots and pale skin, a guise that would hardly go unnoticed under the beating sun of the East, find themselves making new comrades, and discovering perfectly preserved hidden worlds. Despite attempting to blend in to the backdrop they find themselves unable to escape the blood thirsty Black Scorpions, who remain firmly on their trail. Educated in South Africa but currently based in England, John Halsted started writing for pure passion. After completing his studies and working in different fields and travelling around the world, he commenced an in-depth personal study of Viking history (from which his family are allegedly descended), whose result is this promising novel. Emotionally engaging, tugging on heart strings, full of spectacle and painted with such fine detail, Halsted s entire canvas is a haunting display of Viking culture, eleventh century history and forgotten people. The author unearths a past that lays hidden behind continuously shifting political systems and boundaries. On a whirlwind of adventures we are whisked off to meet Zoroastrians, Hephthalites, and lost Buddhist relics, on an incomparable and unforgettable journey for forgotten truths. --Book-promotion.com
This is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction, putting flesh on the dry bones of history, demonstrating the insatiable restless human desire for discovery, adventure and the pursuit of knowledge. Be drawn into a classic sojourn which spans many religions and beliefs and incorporates the ingredients of friendship, dignity, honour, love, betrayal and greed; against the backdrop of a hostile environment which gives no quarter just what one expects from a Viking. An intellectual read, leaving the door open with a promise of more to come. Riveting stuff! --Paul Sweetland
EXCELLENT! The book tells a story that captures the reader on several levels. What appears to be an historical novel becomes an adventure set in a background of rich experiences and wide diversity. This adventure, alongside the stories of the different settlements and religions, and that of a moving love story, means that this book provides a compelling and exciting journey of discovery for both the characters in the book and the reader themselves. --Laura Stannard
About the Author
John Halsted was born in Durban, South Africa and educated at Westville Boys High and later in life attended Bath University. Despite never being considered an academic at school he was a voracious reader of historical fiction, action and adventure novels. At school he excelled in middle-distance athletics winning numerous provincial championships. After school he completed his compulsory two year national service in the South African Air Force whereafter he toured Europe for a year and a half. Returning to South Africa in 1980 he worked in shipping until international sanctions took hold. He then worked in motor manufacturing where he was introduced to computers. Attending night school in 1985 he gained a diploma in Information Technology becoming a programmer. In 1987 he married a New Zealander and moved to New Zealand where he moved into project management and later Organisational Performance Improvement. He took out New Zealand citizenship in 1993 when he ran for Parliament. In 1999 the family moved to England where he attended Bath University. On completing of his Masters degree he embarked on a personal project to research his Viking ancestry. His research in this area led to him writing his first novel. Halsted's family background has given him an enthusiasm for the Viking period. His academic studies gave him the discipline required to research and complete his first novel Legend of the Last Vikings - Taklamakan. He is currently working on the second in what is intended to be a trilogy. He lives in Southeast England with his wife and four children. His interests include calligraphy and long-distance mountain biking. $1.00 from every book sale is donated to the Tearfund for work amongst the refugees in Darfur. He has also raised funds for charities through his summer holiday mountain-bike tours.