The purpose of this post is to hopefully tell you everything you need to know about my new book, Vikingr.
Why Did I Write It?
I starting writing historical fiction while I was studying for a degree in Archaeology & Ancient History. Novels in the fiction and fantasy genres inspired by history always appealed to me, whether they were historical fiction by authors such as Bernard Cornwell and C J Sansom or fantasy novels with medieval elements such as George R R Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire.
I decided to write a novel set in the Viking Age so that I could show a different side of the early vikings. I’ve tried to present the Norse adventurers as poets and explorers of uncharted territories as well as raving pillagers and murderers, .
What Did I Have To Do To Publish My Novel?
A lot of research went into understanding viking society, culture and religion. Norse mythology plays a very big part in the novel. Erikr, the main character, is haunted by spirits from his past throughout the plot. The pagan Norse believed that wraiths of the dead would haunt the living until properly laid to rest, and this was a recurring theme in medieval Scandinavian sagas.
There was also a lot of planning, proofreading and editing. A further aspect which I put a lot of work into was designing the cover of the novel. It includes a vegvisir, a viking symbol or stave intended to help Norse travelers find their way through rough weather, something like a magic compass.
Where Is It Set?
The novel begins in a medieval drinking hall where there is a riot of noise and color, a feast in full swing. Then we travel with Erikr as he begins his voyage aboard a viking longboat which is seeking to establish trading ties with the Roman Empire in the east (a.k.a Byzantine Empire).
But not everything goes to plan and, after sailing along the coast of 10th Century Estonia and through the lands of the Rus’ or Gardariki (present-day Russia and Ukraine), Erikr finds himself in the strange and dangerous empire of the Khazar Khaganate.
Who Are The Main Characters?
Erikr, the protagonist, is a young Norseman taking part in his first Viking (a voyage overseas for trade or plunder). He dreams of becoming a vikingr, a Norse warrior and seafarer.
Alva is a girl slightly younger than Erikr with a fierce, proud personality which gets the pair into trouble. She is also a thrall (slave).
The sisters Ida and Saxa are also thralls. They are Saxon women captured in a viking raid on their Germanic homeland. Ida takes an almost mothering attitude towards Erikr, caring for him when he is injured. On the other hand, Saxa is bitter about their captivity and holds a burning hatred towards all Norsemen.
Holmgeirr and Ingridr are a pair of merchants. Holmgeirr used to be a vikingr but has now retired to a peaceful life, while Ingridr is the widow of another Norse adventurer. The pair do much to teach Erikr about what it means to be a warrior and a leader. They are his mentors and close friends on his voyage.
Want to find out more?
You can find the full novel on Amazon Kindle here.