Book Review: Viking Series by Tim Severin
Leif Eiriksson, the man who discovered America in the year 1000, did have a son by the name of Thorgils, with a woman named Thorgunna, who he had met while he was in the Hebrides. But what the life of Thorgils Eiriksson was really like is not so historically certain. But Tim Severin picked a perfect protagonist for his Viking trilogy that lived long enough (at least in these historical fiction novels) to have encompassed some rather amazing historical events at the height of Viking influence. I don't think I can summarize these books better than The Fantasy Guide:
I class this fantastic trilogy as essentially a fictional bible to the world of the Vikings and their era of the dark ages. I say this because you are introduced to the world right at the height of the Vikings strength and shown through many adventures how far their influence reaches across the globe, how strong their presence is felt at key battles and how much of an impact they have made on people from all kinds of countries defining history in battle as well as trade. The detail is so rich yet finely woven into a story it is like the best Viking history lesson on earth, you have so much fun following the characters on their travels, encounters and experiences you don't realise how much you learn and how many stereotypes and disbeliefs are shattered until you reach the glorious end. This trilogy really is a MUST READ for any fan of the era and of the great Viking people. [The Fantasy Guide: A Review of Tim Severin's Viking Trilogy, fantasyguide.stormthecastle.com/reviews/the-vikings-trilogy.htm]
During the early parts of the first book, Odinn's Child, Thorgils is involved in historical affairs associated with the discovery of America, quite accurately portraying what is told in the Vinland Sagas. Later he is off to Ireland. Often the plot is more like the plot of the old Icelandic Sagas as a series of events, rather than a clear overall plot. However, the details of life across the North Atlantic during this time period is clearly defined by all the details Severin includes in the novel
In the second novel, Sworn Brother, Thorgils is in England during the time of King Canute the Great, who ruled over Scandinavia and England. Interestingly he finds himself involved in a love affair with Canute's wife, Ælfgifu. Fleeing England he teams up with the outlaw, Grettir the Strong, the protaganist of the old Icelandic Saga called Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Grettir's Saga).
Towards the end of the novel, Thorgils is now in Constantinople, where in the third novel, King's Man, he becomes a Varangian guard under the leadership of Harald Sigurdsson, who later becomes the King of Norway, famously known as Harald Hardråde, the Thunderbolt of the North. Harald accumulated quite a fortune from his service in Constantinople and returning to Norway becomes King. Then Thorgils and Harald are involved in the famous events of the unforgettable year of 1066, the death of Harald at Stamford Bridge in northern England prior to the Norman invasion from the south.
Almost all of the main characters in these novels are historical figures and contained in my online genealogy database. Many of them we have discussed in prior blogs, showing their genealogy relationships in my direct ancestry line. The basic plots are really historical. The fleshing out of life, I believe are also quite accurate. Thorgils, although an actual historical figure, his life is all fictional.
Here are some other reviews of these books:
- Fantasy Guide Book Review: fantasyguide.stormthecastle.com/reviews/the-vikings-trilogy.htm
- Review of Odinn's Child by Carla Nayland: www.carlanayland.org/reviews/odinn_child.htm
Here are links to purchase the books on amazon:
Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com