You will not be surprised to read, given that it’s Christmas Eve and I have a little boy, that I am still reading Viking Britain An Exploration. I can normally finish a book in two sittings but when you have a little boy everything takes longer! So, two and three! Williams is an excellent writer, he weaves his academic study with imaginative historical fiction full of powerful imagery which vivifies (?) the text. This is even more powerful as he starts in Old English, translates it into Modern English and then imagines the description in terms of historical fiction. The scene on the beach as Norsemen are confronted by the Kings Revve, to the rhyme and reason of the Beowulf poem is especially powerful.
Williams has a strong writing style that is inhabited by the North. It’s the same North that held CS Lewis in thrall and excited the imagination of Tolkien. I feel it when I drive past birch forests and when I went walking in Northern Sweden. The cold, salt spay and the bitter biting wind on the back of your neck. I was never in danger of my life in the artic circle but the rugged beauties made me happy to be alive.
Finally, the boy has started climbing me has done something annoying to the font, I will conclude todays snippet with the thing that I really like about Williams book. That is his use of alliteration. I am a huge fan of Norse and Anglo-Saxon poetry and its always great to see the use of kennings and alliteration in books about the people who used them most.