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Viking Gold Kindle Edition
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Set over 1,000 years ago, the world of the protagonist, 16-year-old Redknee, is far more dangerous than any modern computer game. In the first few chapters he encounters bloodshed, near death and the loss of people close to him; things which re-occur regularly during the novel. However, violence is always set in a moral context. Every time Redknee has the chance to kill an enemy, he reflects on whether he is justified and generally takes the path of magnanimity.
The story takes Redknee away from his Nordic homeland to a new world, yet like any classic `coming of age' tale, the most important journey is the transition from boy to man. V. Campbell puts Redknee through a range of challenges which allow him to develop from the main character of the book, to the hero of it.
Viking Gold is not a history lesson but the author's attention to detail about the era ensures that even if you start the book knowing little about Vikings, you will finish far better informed.
What I enjoyed most was the masterful plotting, the air of mystery and suspense which Campbell has been able to generate and sustain. You never know who our hero, Redknee, can trust and the various suspicions and false trails which pepper the tale owe as much to Denmark's Forbrydelsen as they do to the Laxdale Saga.
The author has eschewed any temptation to settle for easy or unimaginative plot points, for example at one point Redknee wonders if his nemesis is actually his father (c.f. Star Wars) but rather than spin this out as a lazier author may have, Campbell has Redknee confront Ragnar about this straight away only to have him laugh it off which allows us to move on to more important plot business.
Every effort has been made over historical accuracy yet the weight of research which has clearly gone into this is worn lightly and certainly does not smother the sheer joy of the adventure.
Given the pace of action and quality of the characterisation, we will perhaps be seeing the film adaptation of Viking Gold before too long, but more importantly the final chapters set us up for a rollicking sequel, and I - for one - can't wait.
The story is fantastic, until you realise that, actually, its all possible. V Campbell evokes the atmosphere of the Viking life and gets you hankering for a sea voyage ...
Feeling a sincere connection to the main character, Redknee, you are taken on a whirlwind adventure, through the Nordic countries, into the New World. The ups and downs of the story keep the reader engaged and desperately wanting more.
Throughout the novel I was able to visualise every step - almost needing it to be in a film so I could not only see the wonderful images, but to hear the clash of swords, the pumping hearts and splash of the waves against the boat as clearly as possible.
Reading this while travelling through the Nordic countries was wonderful, especially allowing me to transpose the clear imagery to real life, inspiring me to travel further, as well as researching the culture further to fully appreciate the technicalities the author has included to create such a fantastic experience. Thus, Viking Gold lends itself to not only personal enjoyment of reading, but also an engaging topic to study and enquire about.
The language is accessible as well as relevant to the context of 1000AD, following a Viking ship across the ocean. From the point of view of a teacher, any language that is particular to the context is defined at the end of the novel, which is a wonderful way to promote independence as well as making sense of a time and culture that is unknown to many people, myself included.
I highly recommend this wonderful debut novel, not only for teens, but for adults too; defying anyone to not want to know how Redknee's adventures may continue.
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Viking Gold is an amazing, action packed novel. I could never put it down!Read more