The Viking ship called ‘Steed of the Sea’ sailing in the cold dark waters in the foreground of tall glaciers under a foreboding sky on the cover is just the beginning.
Whether you sat under the history lessons of Columbus discovering America or are more adventurous in your approach to history and have a yearning to know who was here when Columbus arrived and where did they come from, ‘The Settlers’ is a tale that should be on a mandatory reading list in all schools in order to provoke thought and discussion on native North America in the latter half of the tenth century. Scholars can’t agree but this tale offers a new perspective about America’s indigenous people, how they viewed explorers, handled settlers and coexisted on a bountiful body of land with all its beauty and treacherous environment.
It is important to read the ‘Author’s Note’, ‘Historical Perspective’ and the ‘Glossary Of Norse Terms’ provided by the author to educate the reader. In the Author’s Note you will meet Gudbjartur Einarsson who is an Icelander, a Northman or Norseman who is second in command under Halfdan Ingolfsson. Chapter one unfolds six wooden ships carrying 163 Greenlanders and 152 Icelanders (including men, women and children) set sail with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, equipment ( tents and parts to horse drawn carts) and supplies to explore areas of what they call Vinland (North America).
Exhaustive research, realistic characters garbed in functional layers residing in a true to life story line that allows the reader to experience the sea voyage and land exploration with exquisite writing that creates a sense of being present in the story even when this first book in ‘An Axe Of Iron Novel’ series has been closed on a night stand.
Here’s a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“He whistled tunelessly to himself, the notes blown away on the wind. His eyes darted over the sea ahead and aloft at the trim of the sail and rigging. The heart of the ship pulsed through the soles of his feet, vibrated up through the steering oar and the palms of his hands, an inaudible hum that told him all was well in his world.”
“Wind driven rain stung exposed skin like bees protecting their hive.”
“Several kettles of whale blubber boiled over individual fires on the beach to render the valuable oil. The thick, rich oil, skimmed of the connective tissue – the crunchy fried meat and curled pieces of skin were a delicacy-had many uses. It was a valuable food source, preservative, and lamp fuel.”
After the journey across treacherous seas land was a welcome sight with all of its wild game like “Grunting herds of Reindeer” not to mention the predators like wolves and bears. Women and children scour rocky cliffs for seabird eggs to add to their food supply giving the kids some stress relieving egg throwing activity.
Unforeseen and inevitable injuries, herbal treatments, Viking burial ceremony amidst deep held Christian beliefs.
Attraction and a “bed of soft, furry skins nestled in the scrub brush, well protected from the north wind’. Passion, “eyes smoldered with lust” hands explore, tongues probe, “locked bodies swayed in the throes of passion”.
Hunting and cooking for survival, sewing for protective covering, animal pelts and jewelry making for trade commodity. The best and the worst of human nature revealed in a hostile new world.
Now heading into the reading of ‘Confrontation: An Axe Of Iron Novel’ book two of the series gives clarity as to the sequence of history, characters and events that readers should follow in order to understand and digest the fiction history which is laid out in great detail, humanity and historical correlation regarding much debated events.
Cold Coffee Press Endorses ‘The Settlers – An Axe Of Iron Novel’ book one in the fictional historical accounting of exploration and settlement of Vinland (North America). Reviewed by Cold Coffee Press on October 18, 2014 http://www.coldcoffeepress.com
Book Description: The Settlers – An Axe Of Iron Novel – by J. A. Hunsinger
First Book In An Axe of Iron Series
Axe of Iron: The Settlers is a tale about a medieval people whose lives are surprisingly like ours. They have the same basic desires for happiness, love, food, and shelter that has dominated the thoughts of generations of cultures the world over.
On Greenland, Eirik the Red established Eiriksfjord in 986 and later Lysufjord, four hundred miles to the north. Just 22-years later, new settlers from the homelands found all the best land already occupied and the fragile Arctic environment strained by too many people and animals on too little arable land.
This first novel is a continuing, character-driven story of a company of men, women, and children whose wanderlust and yearning for adventure cause them to leave the two established settlements on Greenland and sail west, to the unexplored land later to be referred to as Vinland. Under the capable leadership of Halfdan Ingolfsson and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur Einarsson, these 315 adventuresome souls set sail from Greenland in the spring of 1008 determined to establish a new home across the western ocean.
Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous people, the pre-historical ancestors of the Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, these native people strenuously resist the incursion of these tall, pale-skinned invaders.
Two calamitous events occur that pave the way for the hostile beginnings of an assimilation process to occur between these disparate peoples. The way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn, but the acceptance and friendship that develops between the Northmen and the Naskapi over an affair of honor, the eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods, makes it all begin to fall into place, as it must for the Northmen to survive.
Genre: Historical Fiction
J. A. Hunsinger’s Websites: