Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Greenlanders: A Norse saga of exploration, adventure and faith

I have been fascinated with the characters of Erik the Red and Leif Erikson for almost two decades, and knew I would, someday, write a book about the Norse discovery of America. Then, one day, I discovered that such a book already exists: Meadowland, by Tom Holt.

Bummer, but this happens to many writers. Since no idea, plot or title is absolutely original, you can be pretty sure someone somewhere had used it already. Still, this was a disappointing coincidence (does the world really need two books about the people who had founded the Greenland colony?), but after reading Tom Holt's book, I realized our vision and perspective was so different that I might as well go on with my own.

After a couple of years of writing, rewriting, moving on to other projects and pulling the book out of my virtual attic again, I am finally getting ready to editing it anew and sending it out into the world. In the meantime, I am serializing it on Wattpad.

"Ah, Erik the Red is a brave man," said King Olaf dispassionately. "I think at least half his fault was simply bad luck that made him cross paths with important people. He is not bloodthirsty. He is not even a typical Viking who raids and plunders and murders and rapes at every opportunity. All his energy he put into settling that land he calls Greenland. Anyway, Erik is getting on in years. His son, Leif, will be chieftain of the new settlements. He is the one I summoned here, and he is the one who interests me the most right now."
"He is quite an impressive man, is he not?" said Thorgunna, recalling the tall, powerful, red-haired stranger, a glimpse of whom she caught earlier in the day.
"He is," said the king, "and he possesses an influence which has the potential of growing. Despite the harsh conditions which, as far as I know, make life in Greenland difficult, people continue to go overseas and settle there, looking for profit and especially for freedom. This way, they distance themselves from the Norwegian rule. I had the privilege of entering the covenant of our Savior, Lord Jesus, together with all the royal court," the king placed a hand on his chest and fingered the heavy, ornate gold cross, a jewel he started wearing not that long ago. "I sent priests to all the provinces under my rule, to show the light of the Christian faith to my people. But Erik the Red is a stubborn pagan, and so are most of the people who flock to the shores of Greenland and lose the place that is prepared for their souls in paradise, by the throne of Lord Jesus – and simultaneously their place here in this world by the throne of Norway. It pains me to think of all the souls that are destined to burn in hell, without getting even a chance to hear the Gospel."

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