Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

10th Century / Viking Age Tales

Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

The Deepest Sea

Post by annis » Wed May 4th, 2011, 3:27 am

Not that long ago i was talking to someone here (Ben?) about great books that somehow never seem to make it into mainstream popularity, and I mentioned this one, The Deepest Sea by Charles Barnitz. It was published in 1996, and is set in Ireland and England at the end of the 8th century, just at the beginning of the Viking Age. It's a bit of a cult classic amongst those in the know, but never made the big time, and unfortunately the author never wrote another novel. Deepest Sea is very funny and clever and even does a bit of a gentle send-up of Tolkien here and there.

DS is a book which shouldn't work, but does. The narrator, Bran Snorrison, uses modern idiom because he's talking from the perspective of now while describing his adventures in the past, and the contrast is one reason why it's so funny. Despite using this technique, Barnitz captures a late 8th century sensibility quite brilliantly. Picture a group of Vikings sitting around the fire sharing an ale or two and talking it up, and this is just the sort of bragging tale you'd imagine them coming up with. Whether you choose to believe that Bran really is an 8th century Irish-Viking skald gifted with immortality or a Viking re-enactor with a particularly good line of b.s. is up to the reader.

Anyhow, talking about DS inspired me to write a review, which is posted at Margaret's Historical Novels Info website.
Last edited by annis on Thu May 5th, 2011, 1:52 am, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Wulfric of Mercia
Posts: 14
Joined: April 2010

Post by Wulfric of Mercia » Mon June 6th, 2011, 5:19 pm

I'll probably get around to reading Deepest Sea, though I confess I really frown on anachronisms. I try very hard to avoid them in my own novels since my intention is preserve the dark age/medieval feel of the period. I recently read Odin's Child by Tim Severin and the anachronistic style really had me squirming at times. Its not a bad story, I just wish he had steered away from that sort of thing.

I'm hearing that Mel Gibson is back on track to produce his movie about the Vikings. I'd imagine that will take a couple of years. Apparently his intent is to have the actors speak Old Norse!

If you don't mind me promoting my own Viking Age novels, I have recently published my second. If you like dark, thrilling and suspenseful stuff from this period have a gander at my blog. I am currently running a contest for June in which I will give away two free copies of my newest book.

Posts: 2
Joined: January 2013
Location: Suffolk

The Devil's Monk by J R Russel

Post by vaiseys » Wed February 27th, 2013, 8:55 pm

Although I am biased it really is a very good read. Based in the 9th century of Alfred.

Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Sat March 2nd, 2013, 4:44 am

Actually downloaded a Kindle edition of The Devil's Monk but something wrong with the format meant I couldn't access the main body of the text. Will try to download again at some stage and see if it works second time round.

Btw, are you biased because you are the author or know someone who is?

Post Reply

Return to “Early Medieval (until about 1000 A.D.)”