Odin’s Child (Odd Tangle-Hair Saga 1) by Bruce Macbain
Driven from the flaming ruin of his Iceland farmhouse, young Odd Tangle-Hair, the only survivor of a feud in which his family is slaughtered, steals a ship, rounds up a rag-tag crew and embarks on the Viking life. He swears one day to return, rich and powerful enough to take vengeance on his enemies. But how far off that day seems!
His father, Black Thorvald, had once been a chieftain in Iceland. But in the year 1000, when the country adopted Christianity, Thorvald denounced the new faith and shut himself up in his hall, shunning the world and shunned by it. Odd fears that the worm of cowardice that unmanned his father has infected him too. He has inherited from Thorvald a shock of black hair, a gift for poetry, and an allegiance to Odin, god of battles and magic. But Odd is heir to darker traits as wellóa hint of madness and a temper which will sometimes cost him dearly.
Fate carries him and his men to a shamanistic healer in Lapland, to bloody religious strife in Norway, to the lair of a witch in Finland, and finally to the borders of Russia. Here Odd will leave his comrades behind to join the retinue of a Norwegian princeling who is fleeing to the court of Yaroslav, Grand Prince of Rus. New dangers wait for him in that faraway country.
Eager, curious, quick-wittedóand sometimes wrong-headedóOdd Tangle-Hair recounts his story with candor, insight, and always an ironic sense of humor.
Christianity has come to 11th century Iceland and old traditions are changing while dividing some families on the way. 16-year old Odd’s father is holding to old pagan believes which is driving a wedge between his family and neighbors. After revenge killing becomes a political problem, Odd is sent to exile. He steals a ship and decides to go viking.
It did take me some time to really get into the story. At times it concentrates to describe things too much and while there is plundering, murder and blood, I guess I just expected there to be more of that. I liked Odd but I never understood why men would follow him and call him captain. He wasn’t someone to inspire that kind of loyalty.
And yey there’s Finland and Kalevala but I wasn’t really into those chapters. Kalevala chapters just didn’t work for me and I have to say that I’ve never read it so I can’t comment on that. But for me Kalevala is this mythical thing and 11th century is just too close. I mean we’re close to the Norman conquest! Too much is known about the period to be mythical.
It wasn’t a bad book by any means but I guess I just expected more.
Published: Blank Slate Press (May 26, 2015)
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
From boyhood, Bruce Macbain spent his days in reading history and historical fiction. The Greeks and Romans have held a special fascination for him and this led to earning a masterís degree in Classical Studies and a doctorate in Ancient History. Along the way, he also taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo. Later, he taught courses in Greek and Roman civilization at Vanderbilt University and Boston University, and published a few dense scholarly monographs, read by very few. Recently, he has turned to writing fiction, a much more congenial pursuit. He has previously published two historical mysteries set in ancient Rome, Roman Games and its sequel, The Bull Slayer. Now, he has turned his attention to his other favorite folk, the Vikings. Odin’s Child is the first novel of a trilogy, Odd Tangle-Hairís Saga, which follows our heroóa wanderer, poet and warriorófrom his tiny Iceland farm to the Great Palace in Constantinople. It will be published by Blank Slate Press in May, 2015.
Bruce spends his spare time in the kitchen, cooking spicy food.
Odin’s Child Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, June 30
Interview at Brooke Blogs
Wednesday, July 1
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, July 6
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, July 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, July 8
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, July 9
Review at Bookramblings
Friday, July 10
Review at Just One More Chapter