This is the case with Giles Kristian's book, Blood Eye (Raven, book 1).
Seriously, doesn't this sound amazing?!
In a thrilling adventure of brotherhood, warfare, and treachery, Giles Kristian takes us into ninth-century England, a world of darkness, epic conflict, and an unforgiving God served by powerful priests. On ships shaped like dragons, bristling with oars and armor, Jarl Sigurd and his fierce Norsemen have come in search of riches. And riches they are promised, by an English ruler who sends Sigurd and his wolves to steal a holy manuscript from another kingdom. Osric, an orphan boy, sees beyond the terror of these warriors, and somehow knows the heathens’ tongue. Renamed Raven, rechristened in blood, he will join them. They are his people. And they will be his fate.
And check out the trailer!
So, although I haven't read the book YET...you can bet that I'll be picking it up the first chance I get!
Until then, I'm seriously lucky to have an amazing guest post written by the author himself, Giles Kristian!
I was curious and asked him, "Why vikings?"
THIS was his brilliant answer!
I have always been drawn to the past. Everywhere I go and in everything I do I am confronted with the past and with an almost overwhelming sense of history. I catch glimpses of it in a thatched roof. I smell it in the smoke of a wood fire. I hear it in the languid sigh of waves on the shore and I touch it when I lay a flat hand on a rock at the fjord’s edge. I get enormously frustrated that I cannot go deeper, that I will never experience the past as it truly was and can only interpret it from a great distance. This is why I love historical fiction. A good historical fiction novel is a time machine, or the closest thing to one.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 793 records:
"In this year terrible portents appeared over Northumbria and sadly affrightened the inhabitants: there were exceptional flashes of lightning, and firey dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine followed soon upon these signs, and a little after that in the same year on the ides of June the harrying of the heathen miserably destroyed God's church in Lindisfarne by rapine and slaughter.” This is the first recording of a Viking raid on the British Isles. Over the next 250 years, the Vikings became justly feared throughout Europe as the Hammer of the North. They sailed most of the North Atlantic, reached south to North Africa and east to Russia, Constantinople and the Middle East. In Britain, Viking settlement was widespread, the Danelaw dominating a huge part of England, mainly in the north and east. The legacy of that culture is still all around us here, not least in the words we use and in our place names. Some of my favourite words of Old Norse origin include: Knife, Law, Ransack, Anger, Husband, Window, Want, Skin, Skill and Leg.
So if there’s one thing that the Vikings did it was to make an impression.
My mother and half my family are Norwegian. I spent some of the happiest times of my childhood in and around the fjords of Norway’s west coast, where my imagination ran free, conjuring images of longships and warriors, driven by wander-lust, setting off from their island homes to go a-Viking. I could almost hear rhythmic plunge of the oars and the gruff voices of those aboard. I can even now! The Viking period has occupied my mind to such an extent that I feel like I’ve ‘lived’ with Vikings all my life. Nevertheless, it was a trip to the fabulous Viking ship museum in Oslo that finally inspired me to sit down and begin writing RAVEN: Blood Eye. Seeing with my own eyes the famous Osberg and Gokstad ships, both of them unearthed from ancient royal burial mounds, blew my mind. They are incredible, the Gokstad being the most beautiful expression of boat-building I have ever seen. I based Sigurd’s ship, ‘Serpent’ on the Gokstad. I stood staring at that ship (I touched it, too – don’t tell!) and the characters from my stories, faint as ghosts then, began to take their places at the row benches, their gruff voices seeping into the seasoned oak strakes.
For me the research is always on-going. I rarely write a page, even half a page, without having to research something, whether a geographical reference, flora or fauna related, details of an historical event or person, or to do with the food, clothing or technology of the period. The research is at least 50% of the job and probably more. Fortunately though, a life-long casual study meant I was in good shape to begin writing a Viking novel and I just got on with it.
At the risk of sounding terribly politically incorrect, I would have loved the life of a Viking raider. Setting off for the unknown amongst a band of brothers, confident in my ability as a warrior to defend myself or to take by force whatever I wanted. Imagine not being bound by 21st century laws and morals. Imagine the sense of freedom, the raw energy of it. Imagine discovering lands, people, creatures, food, technologies you have never heard of. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to live the Viking life vicariously through my tales.
Thank you, Mr. Kristian!
Look for my review of Blood Eye soon! In the mean time, you can get your own copy here!
Or, you can win a copy by filling out the rafflecopter form below!
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