What led me to read this novel was that I am fascinated by Norse culture, and this time period was a particularly interesting time in Norse lore. The size of the novel seemed daunting, but I still was on board with it. Unfortunately, this novel didn’t even come close to delivering on any type of promise. The story is a long-winded affair following a slave girl, Katla, as she goes on the initial voyage with Eric the Red as he founded Greenland and her life in Greenland.
The first thing about this novel that bothered me is that it was so overwritten. The author could easily have cut this novel in half and not missed a beat. There just wasn’t enough content to support a novel of this size. The story rotated in narration between Katla, her mistress Thorbjorg, and her daughter Bibrau. When the novel is narrated by Thorbjorg or Bibrau, it does nothing at all to move the story along. I think all of this narration could be entirely removed. Furthermore, the narration of Bibrau was ridiculous. When it starts, she is a young child yet narrates as if she were a fully grown woman. The characters were poorly developed and I didn’t care a bit for any one of them. I’m not sure who was more annoying Katla or Bibrau. It’s a toss-up. The only thing that I enjoyed about the novel was the afterword written by the author where she describes much of her research for the novel. This is a novel that you should definitely skip.
Carl Alves – author of Two For Eternity