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Iceland and Scandinavia
Book One in Odd Tangle-hair's Saga begins in Iceland in the year 1029. Odd Thorvaldson – affectionately known as Tangle-Hair - and his family are shunned by the other Icelandic families because Odd's father refuses to embrace the new Christian faith. A feud breaks out with Hrut Ivarsson, one of the most powerful men on the island and, following a death, Odd and his brother Gunnar are outlawed and given two weeks to leave, never to return. In the meantime, their enemy organises a raid on the family and all but Odd are killed. He escapes to his uncle's home where he meets an old seaman, Stig, and, together with a small crew and Odd's cousin Kalf, steals Hrut's ship laden with goods for selling
Their voyage takes them to Lapland, Norway and the Varangian Sea, encountering dangers, war and capture by a particularly North European tribe. Not to mention a king or two.
Odd, as a character, is quite complex; he comes over as a boastful youth, a competent fighter and yet an accomplished skald. He makes many mistakes, suffers from a temporary madness and has a habit of alienating those who mean the most to him.
From the start, the action is relentless, sometimes brutal, but this is tempered by the sheer atmosphere of the settings which the author captures magnificently whether on land or at sea.
There were a very few minor typographical errors, but not enough to be distracting. The author has also included a few of his own illustrations.
Highly Recommended. Mr MacBain is a talented writer and I very much look forward to reading more of Odd Tangle-Hair.
© Richard Tearle