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Odinn's Child (Viking Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Roughly the first 100 pages I found difficult to read as it constantly introduces new characters and places and the author seems to be all over the place, with no focus and any real plot developing. So it was a bit of a drag, but suddenly everything seems to merge, seems to make sense and felt into its place.
The story begins in the year 1001 and the main character is Thorgils Leiffson, the natural son of a Norse Chief. He tells the story of his life.
The reader will encounter a world which is so utterly different from ours. Christianity and pagan religion co-exist and fight for supremacy. Life was hard, cruel and full of fights. I have never been really fascinated by Viking history and know hardly anything about it. I did never really like this time as I found it dark. However, Tim Severin masters the art of getting the reader to understand this world. One learns about the world long dead and forgotten. Forgotten? Well, you will be surprised how much of this world still lives on but we are not aware of the origins of our deep rooted habits. So this book and the two other volumes of the trilogy are more than just another action packed novel. One is wandering through this world and starts to discover it.
Tim Severin is described as an explorer and traveler and living in Ireland. Well, the reader will have no problems of seeing that he made very good use of his talents in this book or better in the trilogy. It is easy reading, but it is not simple.
After having finished I stared straight away No. 2 of the trilogy and the same happened with book No. 3. I believe other readers will feel the same, but bear in mind: do not give up during the first 100 pages!
Where it differs is in the way that it puts the meat on the bones - I learnt more about some aspects of North mythology than I have from any amount of Saga reading. The descriptions of the battle scenes are almost breathtaking - it was as if I was right there in the thick of all of it, watching the events transpire. Yes there is a certain amount of blood, but this will be nothing new to anyone who has even a vague understanding of Icelandic medeival literature, somehow though everything seems much more vivid and intense. Where a Saga would simply state that someone was stabbed and his leg was severed, this book gives all the details, including perhaps most importantly, the emotions of our hero, young Thorgils.
I can see that this book would not be everyone, but for anyone with even the slightest interest in Iceland or Norse mythology, it is for me a must read.
An ardent worshipper of the god Odinn, Thorgils tempestuous life will take him through many adventures and to many corners of the world. He will face hardships in battle, shipwreck and many other disasters. But Thorgils has grown into an intelligent man and in the main has the wit to extricate himself from most of the troubles he find himself in.
I found the book an enjoyable read. There are many similar books on the market but this is as good as most.
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