The Viking Gael Saga, Book I
Old World Heroism Publishing
The Viking Gael Saga is a historic novel set in what is now Norway, around 870 AD. The Viking Gael of the title is Asgeir, the son of a Norse father and Irish mother. Asgeir unwillingly joins an expedition to raid Ireland. This picaresque tale follows his adventures—and misadventures—as the expedition sails down the coast of Norway toward their destination.
Since this is the first installment of a multi-volume series, book I of The Viking Gael Saga only covers the first leg of the voyage—Asgeir doesn’t depart Norway until the end. The book blends ordinary Norse life with episodes of high adventure. Asgeir takes part in duels, pitched battles, and a chase through the wilds of Norway. He also visits the marketplace, attends the Moot (local government council) as a participant in a court case, and feasts with the local jarl.
Asgeir struggles to balance doing what’s right (by Viking standards) against protecting himself from a rogue’s gallery of predatory Norsemen (and Norsewomen) who wish him ill. Honor binds him to serve a man who he detests and wishes to kill. The machinations of others force him to support and rely on his master for his own protection. The tension between what Asgeir wants to do and what honor requires him to do give a depth to the story that should deepen in future installments.
One of the best features of The Viking Gael Saga is the historical accuracy. JTT Ryder is an archeologist and PhD candidate who studies life in ancient Norway. The customs, locations, and life patterns depicted in the novel reflect the Viking Age with as much accuracy as possible.
Fans of The Last Kingdom and the Vikings television series will find a lot to enjoy here.
Adventure rating: two full fists (9 of 10)