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The Settlers of Catan

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The year is 850. In the seas of northern Europe, the small coastal village of Elasund falls prey to marauding neighbors. Their food stores pillaged, women and children stolen, livestock destroyed, the villagers are left to barely survive the harsh winter — and contemplate a drastic solution to their recurring hardships: leaving the only village they have ever known.

Foster brothers Candamir and Osmund lead their people on an epic quest to a mythic island home, but without knowledge of exactly where the island is, they must trust the gods to deliver them safely. Lost at sea and set adrift, an extraordinarily violent storm washes them ashore the island famed in pagan lore: Catan.

They quickly set about building a new society but old grudges, animosities, and social orders lead to fraternal strife. As the ideals of Candamir’s Christian slave spread throughout the village and conflict with pagan law, the two belief systems clash. When both Osmund and Candamir fall in love with Siglind, the mysterious queen of the Cold Islands, things come to a head.

Based on the wildly popular board game of the same name designed by Klaus Teuber, Rebecca Gable’s The Settlers of Catan is a must-read adventure rich in detail and rippling with intensity.

620 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2003

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About the author

Rebecca Gablé

60 books397 followers
Rebecca Gablé wurde am 25. September 1964 in einer Kleinstadt am Niederrhein geboren. Nach dem Abitur 1984 machte sie eine Lehre als Bankkauffrau. In diesem Beruf hat sie anschließend auch vier Jahre gearbeitet, meistens auf einem Stützpunkt der Royal Air Force, wo sie viel über England, seine Sprache und seine Menschen gelernt hat. Aber die Lust am Erzählen hatte Rebecca Gablé immer schon, und 1990, nachdem sie ihren ersten Roman geschrieben hatte, gab sie ihren erlernten Broterwerb auf, um aus der Lust einen Beruf zu machen. Sie begann ein Literaturstudium in Düsseldorf, dessen Schwerpunkt sich mehr und mehr zur Mediävistik - der Lehre vom Mittelalter - verlagerte.

Nach mehrjähriger, frustrationsreicher Verlagssuche erschien 1995 bei Bastei Lübbe ihr erster Kriminalroman „Jagdfieber“, der im Jahr darauf für den Friedrich-Glauser-Krimipreis nominiert wurde, und sie trat der Autorengruppe deutschsprachiger Kriminalliteratur - dem Syndikat - bei, dessen Sprecherin sie drei Jahre lang war.

Seit Beendigung ihres Studiums 1996 arbeitet sie als freie Schriftstellerin. Zwischenzeitlich hat sie auch zwei Semester lang altenglische Literatur an der Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf gelehrt, was sie zu ihrem Bedauern aus Zeitgründen wieder aufgeben musste. Seit mit ihrem ersten historischen Roman „Das Lächeln der Fortuna“ 1997 der Durchbruch kam, hat sie etwa alle zwei Jahre einen Mittelalterroman veröffentlicht, die alle Beststeller geworden und in viele Sprachen übersetzt sind. 2006 erhielt sie für ihren Roman „Die Hüter der Rose“ den Sir Walter Scott-Preis.

Rebecca Gablé lebt mit ihrem Mann am Niederrhein und auf Mallorca.

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404 (26%)
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563 (36%)
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357 (23%)
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142 (9%)
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60 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 98 reviews
Profile Image for Yvette.
13 reviews2 followers
August 24, 2013
I wasn't expecting much out of this book and I was still disappointed.

The problems in this book boil down to three things:

1. The unfortunate but constant pushing of the author's own religious and other beliefs. There was a lot of potential here but everything was taken over by the author's apparent desire to write a Christianity fanfic. (Also, some creepy homophobia on the author's part that goes well beyond the realities of the setting.)
2. The characters. Most of the characters are bland, one-dimensional, cardboard cutouts of good or evil. Worse still, there is little true personal growth (only false growth--see below) and the characters don't
3. The plot is excruciatingly slow and rambling.

Denigmatic is right in their labeling of the monk (or "the Saxon") as a Mary Stu. But he isn't the only one. Characters who convert to Christianity are converted into Mary Sues and Mary Stus as well, and those left behind are converted into comically over-the-top evil villains. Think I'm exaggerating? The author draws on the apparent horror of being homosexual, as well as dramatic lightning and rape threats, to really push just how evil so-and-so is.

It's always difficult when it comes to narratives concerning older societies to leave one's modern morality at the door and view the characters and in the context of their own time. I, at least, was perfectly willing to do this, but the author wasn't playing along. Rather than take a culturally relativist perspective, or a modern hard look at the past, or even a mix of the two, the author can't quite seem to make up their mind about when rape and cruelty is wrong. The only guide seems to be that if a future Christian does something, it is morally acceptable.

In all honesty, I detest the main character, Candamir. I was rooting for him a little bit at the beginning of the book but quickly became disgusted with his cruelty, childishness, selfishness, and shallowness. The book paints his rape victim as a detestable slut (not kidding) and shows no sympathy for her, while quickly bustling past the matter of his cruelty to her. Candamir never truly grows as a person, he never conquers his personal flaws. The narrator just starts treating him as if he's a good person once he starts accepting Christianity into his heart.

The romantic interest, Siglind, is just as shallow and unlovable. The love triangle between Siglind, Candamir, and Osmund (which, for the record, was just about as boring as it's possible for a love triangle to get...I mean, how do you miss an opportunity like that to create some interesting reading?) is based on looks alone, which is understandable. What isn't understandable is the author's fanfic-esque tendency to just make all of the Christians/future Christians into perfect, happy people in order, presumably, to show how much better the Christian way of life is compared to the heathen one.

The eventual coupling, despite being founded on nothing more than attraction, magically becomes a perfect match from the very beginning. I might consider this a spoiler, but the fanfic-like nature of the book makes outcomes like this completely predictable. I don't think I've ever felt less interest in a couple than I did in Siglind and her eventual match. Siglind is just as shallow as the rest of them, and the fact that she too looks down on a victim and doesn't seem to care that her partner has been so cruel to another woman bothered me deeply.

The author's treatment of the settler's old religion is particularly dense. The argument regularly goes that the old pagan ways are only followed because they're tradition, and because the settlers are easily frightened and superstitious, and that they're all unhappy under the old religion. The author never bothers to explore the emotional realm of the settlers and their religion. To the author, it's all just meaningless tradition, and Christianity just wins out because it makes sense.

It's tempting to ramble about every little thing I dislike about this book. But ultimately, it felt like a huge waste of time because it was so long. Once the main characters lost my sympathy and I stopped rooting for them, I continued only because I hoped for some sort of happy ending for the main characters' victims. Nothing in the ending was satisfying, nor would it have been even if I'd cared about the main characters a bit.

Don't waste your time on this book, and shame on the author for such a cringeworthy pushing of their own beliefs.
May 4, 2023
Książkę czyta się całkiem dobrze, historia czasami wciąga, ale niestety są momenty, gdzie jest nudno, za dużo niepotrzebnych rzeczy. Myślę, że spokojnie można byłoby ją skrócić, 500 stron zamiast 700 i wtedy dałbym 4 gwiazdki. Autorka dobrze się przygotowała merytorycznie do tematu, jest to fikcja literacka, ale czyta się jak prawdziwą historię. Jeśli ktoś lubi historie o wikingach, podbojach, eksploracji nowych terenów, lubi grę planszową, to wtedy warto sięgnąć po ten tytuł
Profile Image for Jamie.
97 reviews8 followers
July 14, 2013
Not all fun & games in Catan... who knew the original settlers were slavers and homophobes? I was surprised at how much I was enjoying this book, though I suppose it does feature on a lot of elements of survivalism and uninhabited-island-exploration that I'm mildly obsessed with. At one early point, I even half-wondered if I was reading a book based off Agricola rather than Settlers of Catan with all the farming talk. A fairly enjoyable, if excessively long read.

However, I have my reservations wholeheartedly recommending it because there is a small section about two-thirds of the way through that is super problematic for me...

But other than that, I quite liked the other 96% of this book.
Profile Image for Violet.
272 reviews16 followers
July 22, 2018
Just don't.
Don't. Even. Open. This. Book.
Profile Image for Joel.
30 reviews
May 14, 2013
Just a great book. Actually book on tape but just the same. This had the potential to be awful, but instead the author did an amazing job. It said in the prologue that she was one of the most highly regarded medieval fiction writers of Germany, and she didn't disappoint. The gist of the story is that a bunch of Scandinavians get tired of trying to scrap a living from the rocky soil and being constantly attacked. So they set off for an island that may or may not exist (sound familiar?). But the island does exist, and they find it, or else there wouldn't be a story, sorry for the spoiler.

The game incorporates several themes into the story including 'the wasteland', the thief, the forests, fields, ore, etc. She also does it in a way that doesn't shoe horn those things into the story. She is very accurate with Viking history and early Christianity, which are key elements of the story. Don't really have anything negative to say about it. All and all I thought it was pretty awesome and will probably be looking to read more books by the author.
Profile Image for Cindy.
341 reviews49 followers
December 4, 2017
Die gekürzte Ausgabe des Buches ist nicht mit der viel besseren Buchvorlage vergleichbar.
Profile Image for Tasha Robinson.
563 reviews125 followers
March 7, 2018
I brought this one home from work seven years ago, half expecting it to be a joke, and then I never actually got around to cracking it. Recently I took it off the shelf to read the first chapter, expecting I'd be able to laugh at the idea, then get rid of it and use the shelf space. Instead, it drew me in, which is really saying something given how many times I paused to think "But it's based on a board game," or "But it's 600 pages long," or other variants on "But why am I reading this?"

The story follows a Norse coastal community in the 800s. The land is hard and unforgiving, raiders keep killing their people and taking their goods, and winters are nearly unsurvivable. Eventually, after a long first act that spells out the important figures in the community, their connections and enmities, and the pressures driving them, the community decides to pack up and take to sea, looking for a hidden island where life might be easier. When they do find land, they build a new community, but they've brought along all their old conflicts, from age-old blood feuds to a conflict between the growing religion of Christianity and the bloody worship of the old Norse gods.

This is fairly gritty, detail-driven fantasy in a way that reminded me a bit of Game of Thrones, if instead of dragons and magic, that series had in-depth thoughts on animal husbandry and carpentry. The book is heavily researched, but I wish the characters themselves weren't drawn so broadly. The translated prose is often pretty basic, and there's a lot of tell-don't-show action. The POV sometimes jumps rapidly between people in a scene in a way that's a bit irritating and distracting. On a sheer language level, this is not a beautiful book.

And there are significant problems here that other reviewers have covered. Homosexuality in this group is considered such mind-blowingly revolting anathema that when one man rapes another, protagonists who happen to witness it run away to vomit in shock. And when the victim commits suicide, everyone more or less agrees it was for the best, they would have done the same. The frankness and casualness about het sex in this book seems accurate to the era, but it still results in some depressingly abused and marginalized female characters who are kept as sex slaves — including by the book's supposedly sympathetic protagonists. These are tiny sequences in an immense, sprawling book, but they're still nagging distractions, especially the rape scene, which is so much more concerned with the plight of those who had to see it than with the man who had to endure it.

What compelled me about Settlers of Catan was in part the size and complexity of the narrative. There are little almost jokey asides that bring the game to mind — sheep are rare, and trade for them is brisk; one character breaks off from the community and becomes a robber, raiding its stores and sometimes shutting down its production by burning fields; references are made to going on to become seafarers again someday. But the connections are minimal and they don't get in the way.

And I wound up admiring the richness of the main characters, who are compromised and problematic, given to dogmatism, pride, grudge-keeping, and stubbornness. They don't always communicate well, and they don't often act altruistically or heroically. They come across like real people, not heroic fantasy-novel characters. That's part of what kept me engaged with this book. I've gotten pretty bored with heroic novels, because I know exactly where they're going to go. Big stories about deeply flawed people trying to figure out how to live are much more interesting, and this novel certainly qualifies.
798 reviews5 followers
November 23, 2019
Od kilku miesięcy jestem właścicielem gry "Osadnicy z Catanu". Mam za sobą już wiele wieczorów lub weekendowych popołudni spędzonych na graniu w tą wspaniałą grę planszową. Od niedawna posiadam również rozszerzenie do tej gry pt. "Kupcy i barbarzyńcy". To jedno z kilku dostępnych rozszerzeń. Ponieważ jestem wielkim fanem gry, jak tylko nadarzyła się okazja postanowiłem również sięgnąć po książkę, a raczej audiobooka. Taka okazja pojawiła się kilka tygodni temu jak zauważyłem że moja biblioteka ma w swojej kolekcjo tego audiobooka.

Ciekawym faktem jest iż gra istnieje już od 1995 roku. Od razu stała się wielkim bestsellerem, zaledwie w ciągu roku sprzedano pół miliona egzemplarzy. Po dwudziestu latach sprzedało się w 30 krajach ponad 20 milionów egzemplarzy tej gry.

Ze względu na wielką popularność gry autor gry podjął kooperację z pisarką powieści historycznych Rebeccą Gable i w ten oto sposób powstała niniejsza książka, która ukazała się w 2003 roku. Książka również została bestsellerem i to nie bez powodu, gdyż stanowi wspaniałe rozszerzenie dla gry. Można ją też przeczytać jako powieść stand-alone niekoniecznie znając grę. Książka wprowadza nas w świat i realia północno europejskiej średniowiecznej Europy, która jeszcze była pogańska a chrześcijaństwo jeszcze nie dotarło w ten rejon Europy.

Dzięki książce po pierwsze dowiadujemy się kim są mieszkańcy a raczej osadnicy Catanu. Dowiadujemy się skąd pochodzą, jak się znaleźli na Catanie no i w końcu jak wygląda ich życie na Catanie. Nie dowiadujemy się natomiast gdzie dokladnie leży Catan i w jakim czasie umiejscowiona jest akcja. Tu autorka udziela na kilka wskazówek, ale nie ma wielkich konkretów.

Dla miłośników gry Catan mocno polecam tą książkę. Chyba w wersji papierowej bym nie sięgnął po tą pozycję, gdyż odstrasza mnie objętość, ale audiobook w wersji skróconej jest objętościowo całkiem OK, gdyż całość mieści się na sześciu płytach CD.

"Life is brutal" - albo inaczej, w średniowieczu to dopiero "life było brutal" - takie nasuwa mi się podsumowanie tej książki. Krew się leje na lewo i prawo. Przetrwać można albo dzięki sile mięśni albo dzięki ponadprzeciętnemu sprytowi pod warunkiem, że szczęście nam sprzyja, szczególnie w obliczu naturalnych żywiołów. Tak sobie pomyślałem, że w odległe czasy lepiej się przenieść grając w grę lub czytając książkę, gdyż dziś żyje nam się całkiem nieźle.
Profile Image for Natalia Martin.
271 reviews
July 10, 2019
Magnífica novela, muy bien narrada, con mucha acción y una base de documentación muy estudiada.
Nos encontramos con una novela de base histórica, ambientada en los comienzos del cristianismo en las islas británicas y cuyos protagonistas son vikingos, si bien las localizaciones no son reales, ni aparecen personajes históricos reconocibles.
A lo largo de la lectura aprendemos sobre los usos y costumbres de la sociedad vikinga, podemos hacernos una idea de como sería colonizar una tierra nueva de los problemas a los que el hombre se enfrenta cuando lucha contra los elementos.
La acción es constante a lo largo de toda la narración, mantiene la atención del lector en todo momento.
Es muy destacable el magnífico trabajo realizado con los distintos personajes que aparecen en la novela, pudieran ser personas reales con sus virtudes y defectos, con muchas aristas y en especial los protagonistas que crecen y maduran a lo largo del relato.
Muy recomendable para los lectores de novela histórica con aventuras.
Profile Image for Eggi.
110 reviews9 followers
August 18, 2017
Beim Oster-Buch-Wichteln erwischt. Mein erster historischer Roman auch wenn dieser nicht zu 100% historisch korrekt ist. Ich war anfangs etwas skeptisch, ob das Buch mich auf Dauer unterhalten kann, da ich Angst hatte das es bei der Seitenanzahl zu viele lange Passagen geben wird. Doch dem war zum Glück nicht so, denn vor allem die historischen Erklärungen über Rituale, Götter oder das Leben damals, fand ich sehr interessant.

Von den Charakteren her, war zwar keiner dabei, den ich wirklich von Herzen möchte und man mich ein Fangirl nennen konnte aber es gab den ein oder anderen den ich gern hatte und dem ich sein Glück wünschte.

Was ich leider als negativ empfinde, sind die ein oder andere Wendung in der Geschichte. Gerade im späteren Teil mit Olaf. Vor allem kam das ein oder andere mir zu sehr Schlag auf Schlag.

Trotzdem würde ich das Buch weiterempfehlen können, denn es liest sich sehr gut.
Profile Image for Kathi.
126 reviews3 followers
March 5, 2019
Okay. Ich habe diesem Buch ursprünglich 3 Sterne gegeben, aber bei näherer Überlegung korrigiere ich doch lieber nach unten auf 2. Warum? Weil dieses Buch so viel verschenktes Potenzial hat, und nichts ist so verdammt ärgerlich wie verschenktes Potenzial!

Denn es ist ja nichtmal einfach ein schlechtes Buch. Viele der Themen und Ansätze darin sind ja im Gegenteil ganz wunderbar - wir folgen einer Gruppe von Leuten, die in einem Hungerwinter zu neuen Ufern aufbrechen und auf einer unbewohnten Insel eine neue Zivilisation starten. Daraus ergeben sich natürlich ganz spannende Themen, z.B. "menschliche Zivilisation vs. die menschliche Natur", "wie möchte ich leben wenn ich ganz von vorne beginnen kann und falle ich dann nicht trotzdem immer wieder in meine alten Muster zurück?" und diese Themen klingen auch häufig mal an.
Beispiel: Es wird eine demokratische Gesellschaft gegründet, aber als dann Gefahr von außen droht wird plötzlich der Ruf nach einem starken Anführer laut. Oder: Unerklärliche Ereignisse passieren. Wer wird dafür verantwortlich gemacht und soll als Bauernopfer dienen? Der Andersgläubige, der Fremde. Und was ergibt sich daraus: Die menschliche Natur steht immer wieder den Versuchen einer freien, zivilisierten, gleichberechtigten Gesellschaft im Weg.
Das sind doch alles ganz spannende Ansätze, die in dem Buch ja auch alle so vorkommen, aber die irgendwie nie so richtig zu Ende gedacht werden, und einfach so als halbgare Ideen in der Luft baumeln, sodass ich mich als Leser frage, ob ich vielleicht mehr Tiefsinn in das Buch interpretiere, als jemals gedacht war.

Dann kommt dazu auch noch, dass Rebecca Gablé zwar ihre Hausaufgaben gemacht hat, was die Lebenswelt der Vikinger - denn die Siedler sind Vikinger - angeht, und dafür schätze ich sie normalerweise auch sehr in ihren historischen Romanen, aber hier schreibt sie über fiktive Ereignisse, die fiktiven Personen in einer fiktiven Welt passieren. Das starre Festhalten an der Recherche führt dazu, dass hier alle Charaktere, inklusive der Hauptfiguren, in vielerlei Hinsicht moralisch extrem fragwürdig anmuten und ich als Leser immer aktiv Distanz zu den Charakteren suche, was aber meinem Eindruck nach von der Autorin so eigentlich nicht gewollt ist. Ich hatte gehört, dass das Buch homophob ist, und war skeptisch, weil ich das in Gablés anderen Werken nie so emphfungen habe, aber OH MEIN GOTT, ja.

Und dann ist da noch das kleine Ärgernis, dass diverse Handlungsstränge am Ende einfach so in der Luft hängen? Ich weiß nicht, ob ursprünglich mal eine Fortsetzung geplant war, aber so wie es ist ist das Ende nicht wirklich befriedigend. Es ist ja nichtmal ein bewusst offenes Ende, sondern manche Dinge fallen einfach unter den Tisch und werden niemals mehr aufgegriffen.

Insgesamt also: das Buch ist in Ordnung und unterhaltsam als reine Geschichte, und hat ein paar spannende Ansätze. Allerdings musste ich mich als Leser ziemlich häufig aktiv von der Identifikation mit den Charakteren distanzieren, und das obwohl sie ziemlich offensichtlich nicht bewusst als moralisch verwerfliche Personen geschrieben waren, um mich zu diesem Level an Reflektion zu bringen. Das mag keinerlei Sinn ergeben, wenn man das Buch nicht gelesen hat (oder vielleicht auch nichtmal, wenn man es gelesen hat), aber das sind meine Gefühle darüber.

Ich mag allerdings die tatsächlich historischen Romane von Rebecca Gablé sehr gern. Das moralische Problem gibt es zwar auch da (wenn auch nicht so extrem wie hier, da es da 1. um reale Ereignisse geht und 2. meinem Gefühl nach ihre spätere Werken wesentlich selbstreflektiver geschrieben sind), aber der Detailreichtum wird dort zu einem Vorteil und hat mich schon zu so manch tiefergehender Recherche über englische Geschichte animiert. Also selbst wenn's für sonst nichts gut ist, als Anreiz zum Selbststudium funktioniert's allemal!
2 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2013
This is really a 1.5, but I'm going to be generous and round up.

There are a lot of flaws with this book. A LOT of flaws. The author clearly has done her research on Viking civilization, but sometimes less is more. Knowing how to properly kill cattle or how ravens were used to find land? That's cool. Letting the main character rape his slave repeatedly and expecting the reader to still find him sympathetic? Not so much.

Yes, there's a lot of rape, and slavery, and questionable low fantasy writing. As others have pointed out, adverbs and adjectives are abused in this book. Moreso, many characters are two-dimensional. The monk, in particular, is a Marty Stu. He does nothing wrong, says little wrong, always shows up at just the right time, and knows all the answers. Whenever our main characters got in trouble, I would just say to myself "I bet that monk will bail them out of this one", and lo and behold he would do just that five pages later.

So what worked? Well, the things owed to the board game namely. The idea of finding and settling a new land is a good story hook, no two ways about it. The raids from the first splinter group added a degree of tension that was sorely lacking. The last third of the book picked up the pace tremendously.

...and then that ending. Suffice it to say that, while I saw this end coming, I had expected the author could at least tie up loose ends. Instead, so many characters and plotlines are left dangling as to make one wonder if they were planning for a sequel, or just didn't know how to tighten their manuscript up.

Regardless, this book provided a distraction on my commute, but little else. I'd rather be playing the actual game. You know, the one based on trade and economics, and not homophobia, rape, slaves, and fanfic level plotting.
Profile Image for Rebekah.
642 reviews8 followers
January 7, 2013
I really liked this novel. There were moments when I was uncomfortable reading it, but no more than I am uncomfortable reading about historical times that show an unvarnished history.

This was a hard life. I thought it had a few moments that were very much part of the connection to the game that spawned this idea. Sheep being so important being part of that, but it was integrated into the story well. I like the fact that definitions of cowardise and bravery were called into question. Is mercy cowardly? What is the place of slavery in a historical time? I thought it interesting that these slaves were just as mis-treated as American slaves were, but the 'otherness' of them was not the same. They were simply conquered people rather than viewed as sub-human. They were kept different by cutting their hair. My favorite line is that 'if he treats his sons like slaves, what should it matter if he makes freemen of his slaves'.

What is the evil in a society? Is it worse to believe in a different god or go against sexual cultural norms.

I had had the ending spoiled for me, though I don't know if I would have expected something that dramatically different given the narrative structure. At least it was not one of those books that ends "badly".

I highly recommend this book to fans of historical novels and those who love Catan and want to see how the story might have played out.
Profile Image for Aaron Haberman.
37 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2016
"Pillars of the Earth," this is not. I mistakenly thought that this book was written sometime in the 1980s and provided the inspiration for the famous board game which I have recently took up playing. It turns out the opposite was true. Klaus Teuber contracted the author to novelize his game in the early 2000s using a general plot outline he developed. While it didn't take terribly long to wade through the novel's 600 pages, the story lacked any kind of interesting character development, while at the same time not containing enough references to the game to at least be interesting for fans. As another reviewer pointed out, the time would be better spent actually playing the game.
Profile Image for Mareike Palmer.
Author 5 books5 followers
November 4, 2019
Diese Rezension geht von einem Abbruch nach ca. 200 Seiten aus.

"Die Siedler von Catan" von Rebecca Gable hat den Anspruch, ein lesenswertes Werk der Fantasy- oder historischen Literatur zu sein. Leider war nach zweihundert Seiten nicht festgelegt, ob es sich hier um das eine oder das andere handelt. Auf der einen Seite haben wir erfundene Orte wie Catan und Elasund, andererseits existieren Glaubensrichtungen wie das Christentum. Es existierte ein Handlungsstrang, in dem eine Christianisierung zur Sprache kam, allerdings wurde diese bis auf Weiteres ziemlich untergebuttert. Ein paar Mal wurde etwas diesbezüglich erwähnt, jedoch vorerst so selten, dass man sich jedes Mal erneut erinnern musste, dass es so etwas überhaupt gab.

Ähnlich geht es auch dem erstgeborenen Kind Candamirs. Als Zögling des Protagonisten hätte ihm eigentlich eine dementsprechende Rolle zukommen müssen, doch vor der Geburt (die ich durch den frühen Abbruch nicht mitbekommen habe) denkt Candamir kaum an sein eigenes Kind, er ärgert sich lediglich nach der Inkenntnissetzung, dass er Vater wird. Dies ist ein erneuter Handlungsstrang, der extrem ausbaufähig gewesen wäre. Leider wird nicht einmal genannt, warum Candamir sich über den Nachwuchs ärgert.

Doch so geht es nicht nur der Christianisierung und dem ungeborenen Säugling des Protagonisten. Auch Catan spielt auf den ersten 200 Seiten namentlich nur in einer kurzen Erzählung eine Rolle. Viel mehr konzentriert man sich darauf, die katastrophale Situation in Elasund wieder und wieder zu beschreiben. Dabei gehen aber leider wegen der hohen Charakterfülle fast sämtliche Charakterzüge interessanter Personen verloren - die Charaktere wirken eindimensional, viele werden als eher dümmlich oder brutal dargestellt.

Erst nach 150 Seiten brechen die Siedler überhaupt auf. Daraus kann man sich bereits ableiten, dass für den Plot irrelevante Dinge in den Vordergrund gestellt wurden. Dazu kommt, dass man sich erst an den Schreibstil der Autorin gewöhnen muss. Als kurzweilig kann man sie besagten 200 Seiten auch nicht beschreiben. Extrem lange Kapitel, die ganze Monate beschrieben haben, machten das Lesen schwer. Man liest über 50 Seiten und es kommt einfach kein neues Kapitel, kein Erfolgserlebnis für den Leser. Demnach besteht auch die komplette Fahrt aus einem Kapitel, das im negativen Sinne über alle Stränge schlägt.

Zuletzt sei noch gesagt, dass in diesem Werk extrem schlecht mit Frauen und Religion umgegangen wird. Der Protagonist leiht seinem Ziehbruder sogar seine Frau aus, von der er gerade erst erfahren hat, dass sie schwanger ist. Ein Christ wurde versklavt und dauerhaft wird auf seiner Religion herumgetrampelt. Allerdings spielen kaum mehr Emotionen als gelegentlicher Hass oder Verachtung eine Rolle.

Da es in diesem Werk auf den ersten 200 Seiten überhaupt nicht um Catan geht, würde ich es keinem Fan des Spiels empfehlen. Die Backgroundstory ist viel zu ausschweifend aufgebaut, die Charaktere sind eher gewöhnungsbedürftig, ebenso wie ihre Angewohnheiten. Im Großen und Ganzen handelt es sich hier um ein Buch, das seine extremen Längen und unangenehmen Stellen hat.
Profile Image for Vera.
Author 0 books15 followers
January 8, 2022
For about 1,5 weeks, I lived at the island of Catan. I enjoyed this book very, very much. It starts off in the fictional Viking town of Elasund, probably in Norway. When a neighboring tribe raids the residents of Elasund, burns their stocks, rapes and kills women and a winter of starvation follows, a large group decides to leave the fjords behind and seek the island that Olaf, the most powerful man in the village, had told them of. The journey on the longboats isn't easy, but finally the settlers make it to Catan, which truly seems like the promised land. But of course, a good land alone doesn't make the world a better place.

I find it amazing how Gablé has formed the main characters, mostly Candamir, Osmund and Hacon. All three of them have their flaws, I don't even particularly like Candamir for the way he treats his younger brother and later his son, not to speak of how he thinks of his female slaves. But he has its good sides. Osmund seems to be the perfect guy, but he also has his deficits and especially when it comes to jealousy. Hacon seems to be a cowardy youngster, but it is made clear why he seems so, and he develops and grows, is forgiving and becomes a grown-up with great values.

I've read through some reviews on here so I can't just leave the gay raping scene unmentioned. I too had my question marks why a man raping another man is so much more shocking than a man raping a woman (which is seen as "normal" when it's a slave woman. Probably it would have been the case in those days, in this society - I know that the author did her research very well. But I would have find it better if there had been some kind of disclaimer, some sort of comment by a bystander that would take a way the feeling this is a homophobic book. Because I don't want it that to be.

This is a book about new beginnings, about human failures like jealousy, grudge of property, women and standing, and pride, about the power of nature, about christianization but also about mutual respect between followers of different religions (I don't think this is Christian fanfic, Candamir is just an example of a man who lets everyone have their own beliefs), about how close friends can grow apart, about family relationships. There's so much in it that I just can't believe there are abridged versions of the book, because any omission would mean a great loss of depth.
36 reviews
June 27, 2021
Dieses Buch hat so, so verlockend und verheißend angefangen. Die ganze erste Hälfte hat riesige Freude gemacht zu lesen. Vikinger, die aufbrechen, um ein neues Land zu suchen, und dabei Demokratie, einen ersten Entwurf von Rechtsstaatlichkeit sowie eine neue Religion entdecken.

Leider wurde das große Potential dieser Geschichte nicht ausgeschöpft. Insbesondere die Gelegenheit, das Entstehen einer modernen Zivilisation zu erzählen, wurde Ausflügen in die Fantasy und zu vielen unbeendeten Handlungssträngen geopfert.

Nicht nachvollziehen kann ich zwar den Vorwurf der Homophobie - dass Vikinger der Liebe zwischen Männern nicht freundlich gesonnen waren, ist historischer Fakt und keine Homophobie.

Kritisch finde ich aber den Umstand, dass der Protagonist Candamir quasi auf den ersten Seiten des Buches seine Sklavin vergewaltigt. Auch hier gibt es natürlich historische Wahrheiten - diese hat Gablé in ihren anderen Büchern aber zumindest beim Protagonisten, für den der Leser zumindest eine Portion Sympathie empfinden sollte, stets elegant umschifft.

Insgesamt bleiben viele Charaktere, auf welche ich große Hoffnungen gesetzt habe, sehr eindimensional und blass. Das gilt insbesondere für Siglind, deren Existenzberechtigung sich daraus herleitet, Sexszenen zu ermöglichen, sowie den Mönch Austin, dessen einziger Charakterzug es ist, Christ zu sein.

Wirklich schade, dass diese Geschichte nicht genutzt wurde.
February 14, 2023
Long but in the end, captivating and satisfying. The boom has a slow start and the journey to Catan is long. However, Gablé weaves a compelling story of struggle. By the end you will share the joys, fears, and sorrows of this cast of settlers. However, it is important that reading this View keeps in mind the cultural context of Vikings and the encroachment of Christianity. This book will be disappointing and annoying to those who dislike historical fiction or prefer to view history from an anachronistic perspective. The author does conflate modern and post Christian norms around homosexuality with pre-Christian Viking views; however this could be due to a number of factors from the authors personal beliefs to assumptions and lack of research or misunderstanding Viking culture. I did not find the scene or character’s reaction too shocking but it was over the top given the all edged time period and to whom the scene occurs.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nicholas.
122 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2022
As a fan of the board game and also a fan of weird tie-ins, I was very much interested in what a Settlers of Catan novel would actually read like. And as it turns out it's a 600 page trek through a desert. The characters are fine, but towards the end they all just kind of blend in together because hardly any of them have personality. There's a weird homophobic vibe in it. The main villain is finally exiled, not because he killed people or is an all around asshole, but because he caught r*ping a male slave (as opposed to raping a female slave, which is totally fine and done with strange light-heartedness) . There's a weird Christian sub-plot where one of the characters is a Christian that everyone loves because he has absolutely no negative qualities and can do everything and is responsible for saving everyone. Very weird.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Thijs.
242 reviews1 follower
August 15, 2022
I'd say 3.5 stars. Rounded up to 4.

I can't see much of the criticisms most people have with this book, I actually find the opposite:
- the Viking culture seems well researched and things that were normal then (keeping slaves) is seen as something normal. Empathic owners treat their slaves better and cruel owners worse.
- the characters are complex and deep, but you have to read between the lines. Candamir is brave and open minded in some ways but also short tempered and strict in raising those under hos care.
-Christianity is not the being overly praised, rather extremism and dictature are overly denounced. It seems to me that both religions were treated as equal, but what was happening here is also what happened in our own world: christianity slowly but surely took over. And in our world this did not happen without bloodshed either.

Nor did the ending seemed to not round up things.
Profile Image for Christine Barth.
1,198 reviews3 followers
June 4, 2019
This book was published in English in 2011, and that's the version I read.

This book was really well written, especially for being a novel about the board game. There were lots of references that players of the game would enjoy, but mostly this is a fantastic historical novel set in about 850 about a group of Viking (ish) settlers that leave their home to find a new land. The new land is named Catan and there is a lot of drama, trade, romance, and more!

I would not characterize this as YA (as the library I checked this out from did), because of a few gruesome scenes and some sex, but I highly enjoyed the story and the characters. (Many of the characters are pulled from the Rivals of Catan 2 player game).
Profile Image for Elke Woll.
142 reviews7 followers
December 21, 2018
I kind of lost interest when the monk schlepps a bible on his missionary travels and it can be hidden under a skirt.
A bible. An actual book. Written on parchment. Bound in leather or wood. Quite.

(Consider the value of such a treasure, to be kept in monasteries not dragged through countries, and by a young, unimportant monk, no less. The sheer size of it, and the utter uselessness for missionary work. And this from an author who took courses and presumbably graduated, in literature, language, and medieval studies at university.)
Profile Image for Vanteacher.
99 reviews12 followers
November 13, 2019
Not expecting much as movies have proven poor translations of computer games. This use of the Catan intellectual property form the board game, both delighted and moved me.

It is rare for a book to make me feel. I enjoyed it immensely and lost some sleep and work time because of it. It's harsh and brutal and survivalist.

Some reviewers saw it as homophobic and pro-slavery. I think its interesting and thought provoking. If you wish to read something "woke" this is not it. It will offend you and delight you if you give it half a chance. Thank you Mrs Gable.

Profile Image for Damián Ponce.
Author 7 books3 followers
February 27, 2022
Interesante ma non troppo. La lectura es ligera y hasta engancha. Los personajes bien esquematizados y realistas, con sus contradicciones.
Me fastidia una vez más la dicotomía enfrentada cristianismo/paganismo nórdico pero entiendo su presencia.
Buen trabajo de Gablé en unas 730 páginas que se leen fácil.

Aún así te preguntas por qué narices dejan a los renegados campar a sus anchas en vez de meterles una raid y eliminar la amenaza, la verdad. No tiene mucho sentido "que se dejen hacer"
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
20 reviews
January 1, 2018
Amazing read that makes the imagination soar!

I have never played the game, but I had heard of it, so when I found out Lee Chadeayne had translated this book, I decided I would give it a try. Once again, he outdid himself, and as a fellow translator, I can only hope I would do anywhere close as well, if ever given the chance to translate such an amazing book!
Profile Image for Mark.
202 reviews
March 2, 2021
Voyage of Vikings

This was an interesting novel being based or inspired by one of my favourite board games. However, after a good few chapters I found myself warming to the characters and their fledgling community.

I'm not sure it could sustain further adventures, but I enjoyed what I read.
Profile Image for Gemma.
121 reviews1 follower
July 31, 2017
Distracting and at times thrilling story about the Vikings and their polydeism against the background of ancient history and the increasing influence of Christianity. With ports, sheep, wool, wheat and wood and a great amount of strategy, fate and luck playing a fair role. ;-)
34 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2018
ionSpell binding

I was amazed how the Audible companion recording truly made for true immersion reading experience! I had my Kindle and ear buds on all weekend. I actually read 600 plus pages in just two days. I was still wanting more.
Profile Image for Joelle.
18 reviews
November 17, 2021
Packend und mitreissend, teilweise zieht es sich etwas in die Länge, wodurch es ein wenig langweilig wird. Die Schreibweise gefällt mir jedoch sehr und auch die Geschichte an sich. Es kommt viel Gewalt vor, aber da es als historisches Roman gilt, kann das wohl verziehen werden.
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