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.
NAME: Einarr’s Saga, The Winter
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: Gilbert de Jonestun
PUBLISHER: Nighthawk Publishing
BINDING: electronic, PDF file format
SUBJECT: Saxons, Vikings, the Great Army, Northumbria, Southumbria, the Three Kingdoms, cavalry, battle lines, Ivar Ragnarson, King Edmund
DESCRIPTION: This is the first novel to be published by Nighthawk Publishing, which began electronic publishing in 1995 with a list of technical books, manuals and special interest historic subjects, at a time when electronic publishing was still at a very early pioneering stage. Since 1995, a number of eBooks have been published each year and some have also been published as printed paper hard back and soft back editions. This new book is clearly aimed at expanding publishing formats into the establishing market of eBooks.
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 convincing 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.
The reviewer has only seen the PDF file format edition of the novel. The publisher has always published eBooks first in the PDF file format, which is stable and richly featured. As this produces a formal two page layout, there are inevitably some blank pages, but the author has provided some appropriate sketches and legends, rather than leaving a page blank or adding the traditional note, ‘This Page Is Deliberately Left Blank’. It is understood that mobi and EPUB editions of the novel will be released shortly and allow it to be read successfully on the eBook readers, such as Kindle, that are unable to read the PDF file format. This probably means that these editions will only include a book jacket image, losing the sketches that appear through the PDF edition. The page format will also differ because of differences in these limited formats that are intended to enable text-based eBooks to be read on small light-weight devices that have long battery life and reflective screens that can be read in most lighting conditions.
This PDF edition can be read on any device that is able to read PDF files, such as Samsung Tab2 and Tab3 tablets, smart phones, Personal Computers and Linux Workstations, or laptop and notebook computers.
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 who are keen to tell a history that shows them 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.