Patrick's Reviews > West Oversea: A Norse Saga

West Oversea by Lars Walker
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's review
Jan 27, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in July, 2009

This is original and compelling work, and I found myself liking this story more than Bernard Cornwell's better-known novels of the Norse.

On a now-defunct blog, I expanded that assessment a bit:

It's not often that any one author is refreshingly original enough to evoke comparisons to Le Guin, Hillerman, Cornwell, and Schaara, especially because most of *them* never sat on a bench in a Viking hall telling sea stories.

(It may seem paradoxical to praise originality by alluding to work by others that it reminds me of, but what I mean is that Walker has successfully internalized many of the things those other writers do well. Consequently, his own work reads like a fresh new alloy of his influences, rather than something derivative and forgettable.)

In other words, Walker ranks with fast company, and West Oversea is more than good enough to make me want to read his earlier work. Erling is an honest merchant who can also fight, and Father Aillil, though frequently seasick, is excellent company. You'll want to follow them around, and cheer them on.

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