Viking: Odinn’s Child
By Tim Severin
Year published: 2005
Pages: 324
Edition: Paperback
Times read: First time
Brought in: December 10 2009, from a second-hand store for $2
Date read: finished it 1 January 2010

This book was a random find at my local op-shop, for a whole $2. I am fascinated by all things historical and mythological, and a book about vikings and their myths interwoven with battles and all-the-while bagging christianity? How could I say no?!

So the main character of the story is Thorgils, a poor lad who is sent away from his mother at age 2 because she doesn’t want to bother raising him. He is a bit of a loner, due to him being a tad different and weird. Turns out he has a gift of being able to sense the dead, a talent for learning, and some sort of magical abilities. Intrigued by the “old ways”, he is taught throughout the book about the different aspects of the religion that the Norse followed during this time, the turn of the first century, and the religion that the Irish followed as well. The book travels from Iceland to Greenland to Ireland, and along the way there are numerous battles that keep you interested and rooting for the protagonist. It also deals with the imminent threat from Christianity, which is being forced onto the inhabitants of these countries, almost completely against their will. You will read this and hate the religion, because it is cruel and horrendous and totally unable to accept anything but its own version of reality (much like how it is today).

As an atheist, this did nothing to make me warm up to the religion of Christianity. It did, however, offer some brilliant insight as to how such a brutal and horrible religion was able to take a hold of this world and dominate like it has for the past millenia. Whether or not these points hold any truth is to be seen, however it makes sense when you read it and see arguments such as Christianity scheduling major holidays to coincide with the major festivals and holidays of the existing religion, so that people are able to transfer their faith to this evil one more easily. Throughout the story, I found myself cheering for the “old ways” to survive and beat the “white christ”, even though we know the outcome. To have such brilliantly vibrant and fascinating religions destroyed like they were is just sickening. There is so much that was lost due to Christianity and its… well its inability to accept anything but their one vision. Stories such as Odinn’s Child give us back a little bit of that religion and that time, allowing us to attempt to pick up the pieces and re-discover what was lost.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, something that was surprising as I had low expectations from the start.
My final words:
Odinn’s Child rating:
9/10. Though it wasn’t an action packed romp, it was fascinating and I found myself drawn into the world, eager to learn more and more about the version of history that it offered.
Would I re-read it? Yes, in a heartbeat. Throughout the book, myths and legends are interwoven into the plot and gives the reader a basic understanding of Norse mythology, from which I hope to expand my knowledge.
Who would I recommend it to? Christians! HA. Seriously though, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, vikings, Norse or Irish mythology, or likes to see Christianity at its absolute worst.

I am hoping that somewhere along the way I am able to pick up the sequel to this book, as it continues on with Thorgils and his journeys through the countries of Europe. The small extract at the end of my book of the second one made me absolutely determined to locate the second book, if for no other reason than it was simply a pleasure to read the first one. I highly recommend this book, as not only an interesting read, but as something to expand ones mind.

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Pick up a copy and enjoy!