Monday, February 4, 2013

Norman historical novel

Another historical novel set in that 'Saga' time period. This one is not Viking themed though it features those crazy horse riding descendants of Vikings who made a home in part of what we now know as France. I don't know a lot about Normans so this was an enjoyable exploration of Norman culture with the story starting at 1033.

William de Hauteville is the main character and he moves with his brother to Italy to join a Norman Mercenary force. Lots of cleverness by William and spilling of blood of course is par for the course in these turbulent times. Motivation for going to Lombard country is that he has lots of Brothers. His old man can not give them all an inheritance can he? So off he goes. Near the end of the book William comes into contact with the leader of the Varangians in service to Byzantine Harald Hardrada. Another 'Saga' hero of the Dark Ages. It was a surprise to me to learn about a Dark Ages war in Sicily where they meet up.

The early parts of the book was a little confusing for me as it followed a story arc of a noble brother and sister making a run for it from Italy as a Tyrant gets rid of their Father. But I got the obvious idea that they will end up crossing paths with William and his brother Drogo. It may be the case that I just felt a little too much detail was spent on them and it could have been page space that could have had more Norman Knights jabbing lances while thundering hooves pound the earth perhaps.

This book is the first in a Trilogy and for sure I will put the next two books in my 'round to it' reading list as it sees more of his brothers making the move to making some cash from being good at hacking folks to death in Italy and beyond.

Dark Ages Europe looks really interesting as a wargamer after reading this novel. Lots of potential for armys and different cultures clashing.

Cheers and happy reading from Brendon (The Kiwi)

1 comment:

  1. This looks like just my thing. Hadn't spotted it before so thanks for pointing it out!