Isn't it nice discovering an unread book on your bookshelf...one you thought you had read but once you've picked it up to leaf through it...you notice that you have not in fact had the pleasure. And you go and make yourself some coffee, haul out the rich tea biccies and formally introduce yourself to this new adventure.
And adventure it is!
Viking: Odinn's Child is the first book in a trilogy (the other two are already out, in fact, I already have book two waiting for me) and it follows the adventures of Thorgils Leiffson.
Our story begins in the year 1001 and the toddler, Thorgils Leiffson, son of Leif the Lucky and Thorgunna, arrives on the shores of Brattahlid in Greenland to be brought up in the fostercare of a young woman - Gudrid. Thorgils is a rootless character of quicksilver intelligence and adaptability. He has inherited his mother's ability of second sight and his destiny lies beyond the imagination of those around him. Virtually orphaned, he is raised by various mentors, who teach him the ancient ways and warn him of the invasion of the 'White Christ' into the land of the 'Old Gods'. Thorgils is guided by a restless quest for adventure and the wanderlust of his favoured god, Odinn. His fortunes take him into many dangerous situations as well as to the brink of death by execution, in battle, disease and shipwreck...Packed with wonderfully reimagined Viking sagas and adventures, and fascinating and unique characters, Viking - Odinn's Child gives historical novel writing a new dimension. - This from FantasticFicton.com
What I thoroughly enjoyed and am still enjoying as I have not finished the book - yet - is how beautifully it is written. The author, Tim Severin clearly loves his subject matter - being a bit of a historian, traveller and adventurer himself - and whilst it is packed full of interesting information that fills your head with the sounds, smells and t he stark reality of living in an age as violent and as exciting as this, he manages to make it not become tiresome. He is the master of showing and telling, all at once, but with such great skill that you only realise after the fact that you have just learned how they spent Christmas - Jol - in the Orkneys and what kind of ruler their king was, etc. Cunningly done and with great pace.
I can't wait to read it all - in fact, I have been to visit Tim Severin's website and I am delighted to learn that he is a true gentleman adventurer. He has several other books out, non-fiction, in which he travels the world, examining the stories and facts behind classical stories such as Jason and the Golden Fleece, Ulysses, Sinbad, etc. And that he has produced films and documentaries for the Beeb and National Geographic. Very impressive!