Einarr’s Saga – The Winter

Inspired by family sagas, the author follows two young warriors forged in battle. The family saga was handed down through the generations as a private record and, in recent years, archaeology has been proving new insights that support the family saga version of history. – Very Highly Recommended.

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NAME:  Einarr’s Saga - The Winter
FILE: R3161
AUTHOR: Gilbert de Jonestun
PUBLISHER: Nighthawk Publishing
BINDING: Kindle and paperback
PRICE: Kindle; $4.99, £3.92, 
              Paperback; $17.99                                                               
GENRE: Fiction
SUBJECT:   Saxons, Vikings, the Great Army, Northumbria, Southumbria, Mercia, 
The Three Kingdoms, cavalry, battle lines, Ivar Ragnarsson, King Edmund, 
Longships, Ragnar Einarrsson, Einarr Ivarsson, Gudhrun Pedersdottir, Gytha 
Wuffings, Princes of Kiev, Rus, Varangian Guard

ISBN: Kindle; 978 18428 01376
           Paperback; 978 18428 01376

PAGES: Kindle; 462, 
              Paperback; 
IMAGE: B3161.jpg
BUYNOW: Kindle; tinyurl.com/yclmhw6z  
                    Paperback; tinyurl.com/yaowpbdd
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Inspired by family sagas, the author follows two young warriors 
forged in battle. The family saga was handed down through the generations as a 
private record and, in recent years, archaeology has been proving new insights 
that support the family saga version of history. – Very Highly Recommended.


This story was not originally written for general publication. When the family sagas were handed down, this was by their retelling around the winter hearth. Usually it was by grand parents to grand children. A tradition for Galwegian families, and in lands with an equally strong Norse tradition, a family heir was responsible for ensuring the stories were passed to the next generation, to be carried down by the next family heir. The acknowledged family heir could be male or female and in some cases might not even be a blood relation. The sagas were told to a close family group but there would be potential alternative heirs to maintain the family story in the even of the first acknowledged heir not surviving before acknowledging his or her successor.

The challenge in recent years is that the winter hearth is no longer a feature of family life. Where all gathered together through the winter, families are widely scattered and entertained in different ways. This has meant that some family sagas will have been lost for all time. Turning a family saga into a written form is no easy task because it is a collection of stories and family trees. Around the winter hearth these would have been retold and discussed. Einarr’s Saga is a series of tales of the life of Einarr. One of these stories is the inspiration of this new book.

For a novel, the reviewer has to walk the narrow line between providing information and opinion, without spoiling the plot. The subject is very interesting and shares inspiration with Sir Walter Scott, who based his novels on Galwegian and Border oral histories. In this case, the inspiration is family sagas, coupled with general research of the period to provide a background in which to place the characters and the story.

The novel really tells two stories. The narrator, who introduces each Part of the Saga, is a Sixteenth Century character, teaching the Family Saga to his grand children, setting his times and challenges against the main story some five hundred years earlier.

There is also a very interesting Author’s Note at the end of the book that provides some perspectives and background to the novel.

Einarr’s Saga follows two warriors, a boy and a girl, as they grow rapidly in a conflict that changed the history of the World. In the process, it offers a completely new perspective on the history of the time.

As the author explains in his Author’s Note, oral histories are not necessarily any less accurate than written history, not least because written histories are often written down years after the event by scribes who were not there at the events, may have little understanding of military campaigns, and who are influenced by patrons and superiors, keen to tell a history that shows those powerful people in the best possible light. The Family Sagas of the Scandinavians, perpetuated by their descendants in the Lordship of Galloway, were private accounts intended to serve as manuals for future family leaders. As a result, they often differ in part from accepted historical wisdom, but have proved to be more accurate on occasion. The result is that an entertaining and absorbing fictional story also provides some provoking fresh insights into important stages of history.

This is a very good first fictional book for the publisher and the title suggests that the story will be continued, although no information about future related stories was available at the time of review.

The review material was provided electronically in two forms. One was in Kindle and the other was in .PDF. The .PDF version was based on the master from which the Print On Demand paperback is produced.

The Kindle version displays very nicely as page advance/retard single page display. When taking a draft from one electronic format to HTML, for conversion to Kindle, it is often necessary to change the presentation to separate paragraphs and replace features like drop characters. That has obviously been done for this production and it works very well.

The .PDF version carries the formatting usually adopted for a printed book. Essentially, it is a two page presentation so that there are some blank pages to ensure that a new chapter always begins on a right facing page. However, this reviewer read both electronic versions and the content is identical.

The debate around the merits and demerits of electronic and paper publishing continues and probably will for years to come. The great advantages of eBooks are their much lower cost, instant acquisition and the ability to hold hundreds of books in a very small data space. As reader devices have improved and also become much more sophisticated, eBooks have become very accessible and convenient. However, the printed book does have a different feel which many readers still enjoy. There is also a very different experience in visiting a bookshop and browsing the shelves. A growing trend seems to be to acquire new books in printed form, electronic display form and also in audio format, all made affordable because of the very low cost of electronic and audio forms. This certainly enables the reader to enjoy the contents in the various parts of life, taking many electronic books on holiday, hearing the story while driving or riding, and curling up with a drink and a book in a comfortable chair. It is therefore encouraging that this entertaining book is available in both Kindle and paperback options.