Set in the late Roman empire, "Votan" concerns a young Greek who travels in celtic Germany and is mistaken for a god/messiah figure. His adventures will be remembered for centuries to come as folklore and the premise of the viking religion. Interesting premise. Those with some knowledge of Norse mythlogogy will appreciate the references to it. My only objection is that the secondary characters are not really fleshed out enough. I also doubt that someone's hair will turn grey just because they have spent a night up a tree ..... a good read.
This book is without doubt one of the greatest works of fiction I have ever read. It is also an extremely intelligent and insightful attempt to understand the growth of a belief system and mythology in the ancient world. It is witty, it is intriguing and it is thought provoking. This is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in Norse Mythology, the Roman Empire or religion in general. This book deserves to be far better known.
An exceptionally imaginative and entertaining account of how the Scandinavian god Odin might have originated. Told in the first person. Some knowledge of the mythology of the Norsemen makes it even more fascinating, but in my view it stands up as a fantastic tale even for those who know nothing of the background. Odin was in fact a late-comer, circa 1st/2nd century AD, to the Scandinavian pantheon, and was grafted on to the existing myths of paganism in the North. Extremely creative, original and well-written. A great read.
Who needs gods when you have Photinus. The archetypal wheeler dealer with a sideline in swordsmanship totally disrupts the civilisation of the north and creates all the necessary legends to go with it.
After reading American Gods I wanted to expand my knowledge of Norse Mythology and read in an interview with Neil Gaimen somewhere that he had stopped himself reading Votan untill he had finished his book. Afterwards he said that Votan was "everything he expected". With that I didnt know what to expect from this book, and I can assure you it is definately worth the read. Some knowledge of Norse Mythology is required to appreiciate the stories but this can easily be achieved by reading the first bit of the book with Wikipedia near :D
The two other reviews have mentioned what the book is about, and i dont want to reveil too much as i really enjoyed the suprise of not knowing how the myths got contained into the stories.
The only down side to the book, was that I found the first few chapters a little difficult to read and understand what was occuring, but as I am not a regular scholar, I'm sure most will not have this problem.
At the end of the book, i felt almost shell shocked by the brilliance and beauty of Votans life. Fictional fact muddled with fictional myths works very well.