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Friday, October 26, 2012

A Turk Among Vikings

I'm actually a fan of fiction that humanizes the Vikings and re-creates their worldview.  That's why I selected  the short story "Tyrker's Tale" by Robin Ingle when it was offered to me by The Bookplex.  This story seemed particularly unusual because the viewpoint character is a Turkish thrall.  The author places him within the 10th century historical context by mentioning real people and events.   My review is below.


Tyrker, the viewpoint character, is a thrall of a real historical personage known in English as Eric the Red.  Tyrker’s perspective is that of a warrior in his prime who is well-traveled and has had many exploits that impress Eric’s children.  Even though a short story is a limited canvas for a writer, Robin Ingle manages to show us something of the harshness of life in the tenth century.  It is a world that may seem very alien to 21st century readers that know nothing of the period.   The author doesn’t shy away from the awful impact of slavery.

On the other hand, I thought that Robin Ingle portrayed Eric the Red more positively than I would have expected based on what is known of him.  Since this is fiction, I am willing to imagine that this notorious brawler who was continually getting into trouble with the authorities, was quite different toward members of his own family and household.

I was interested in the character of Runa.  I wanted to know more of her history.  I hope that there will be more about Runa in future stories in the World’s Edge series. 

“Tyrker’s Tale” involves mature themes. There is a forbidden romance. I thought that it was handled tastefully.  There is no explicit sexual content, but I would not recommend it for young children. 

I consider this a successful short story that is well-written.  I anticipate that these short stories are really only appetizers for the novel dealing with these characters that Robin Ingle will eventually write.

For more information about Eric the Red, you may consult the following websites:

 The Saga of Eric the Red This is the original Icelandic saga translated into English.
Danish website on Eric the Red  Very good summary of his life translated to English from Danish
Greenland Page About Eric the Red  This is a page on the Greenland tourism website in English.


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