Monday, April 6, 2009

Review: Axe of Iron: The Settlers by J.A. Hunsinger

By the year 1008 the warm temperatures of the previous two hundred years had melted much of the ice in the northern seas, allowing the Vikings the opportunity to expand and explore. Their success as a people had led to overpopulation of their native lands, the oldest son would inherit the family land and no additional land was available for younger sons. The land that was available had become over-used and could not feed the large population. So groups of Northmen, or Norse, left their ancestral homes in search of new lands where they could settle.

This is the fictional account of Halfdan Ingolfsson, his second in command Gudbjartur Einarsson and their group of 315 settlers searching for a new homeland. They leave Greenland in six large wooden ships and sail south, headed for the outpost of Leifsbudir on the east coast of North America. During a ferocious storm they are blown off course and end up in the previously unexplored Hudson Bay.

They have brought with them everything they need to start life in a new place. They have livestock and provisions, tools and craftsmen. They are a hearty people well used to the hard work of daily life. And Halfdan is a leader with revolutionary ideas. Though the Northmen are renowned for their battle ability, Halfden wants to befriend the native people and live in harmony with them, avoiding the wars that have been the downfall of previous attempts at settling new lands.

This novel is extremely well researched and provides great historical detail about the daily life of the Vikings, their sources of food and methods of cooking, toolmaking, hunting and sailing. I enjoyed the story and the character development, the author did a good job of portraying the social tapestry of this hearty group of people. Packed with fascinating information about this little known time period, readers of historical fiction, nautical fiction and adventure novels would all enjoy this book.

Axe of Iron is the first book of a planned five book series. It is published by Vinland Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9801601-0-9.

For more information, please visit the author's website and blog.

Some other reviews in blogland:

Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for sending me Axe of Iron for review!


Tracee said...

Another great review of this book!

J. A. Hunsinger said...

Hi Carey,

Thank you for your review of my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers. I appreciate your reasoned approach to my work. Your post and your website are terrific.

Best Regards,

Cheryl said...

Great review. I recently received a copy of this book and look forward to reading it.


thewriterslife said...

Thanks for your review, Tome Traveller!

JohnnieU said...

Greetings Carey,

I have been fascinated by this subject for a long time since I first read of the work of George Catlin, American painter who traveled among the Native Tribes of the Plains shortly after the Lewis and
Clark expedition and illustrated their culture. One of the strange stories he told was that of the Mandan tribe of the Dakotas, many of whom had fair complexions and hair and their tribes lived in fortified and permanent villages, unlike the other Plains tribes. They all died of European diseases before their story could be researched. Excellent review!

John U

J. A. Hunsinger said...


Thank you for your comment. I, too, have made a thorough study of the Mandan. Your assessment of what is known is interesting.

I appreciate your taking the time to comment.


The Tome Traveller said...

Hi Jerry! Thanks so much for joining us today and participating with the comments! It's an honor to have you here.


J. A. Hunsinger said...

Thanks,Carey,it's an honor to be here. I hope you got lots of hits today. :)


Michele said...

I just finished this one...great review, Carey!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book for my son! Super review, thanks. :-)

It’s Bobbie from Book Reviews By Bobbie.
I am delighted to pass on the Premio Dardos Award, to you! Please stop by my blog to see the award and find out all the particulars.
Your blog is marvellous!

Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Zibilee said...

This sounds like the perfect historical fiction book for me. I put it on my list. Great review, thanks!

Ladytink_534 said...

Oh this is a new book? It just looked kind of older to me so I assumed it was. Lol, that'll teach me to judge a book by its cover!

Becca said...

I have to admit that there was something about the cover that turned me off. For some reason it makes me think that it is going to read like a social studies text book. But I am usually all over anything to do with Viking and I like historical fiction so I was torn. So I’m glad to hear that there is good character development. And that it will appeal to readers of adventure novels helps too. I think this will have to go on my TBR list. But looking at the length of my list I’m not sure if I should thank you for that or not. :)

tashiana said...

i agree with becca about the cover. definetely has a textbook feel. but a book about vikings sound exciting!

Valerie said...

Yeah, the cover is not enticing
Historical fiction sounds good every now and then
it looks like this one was well researched
KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

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Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.