Ancient & Medieval Historical Fiction discussion

Tim Severin
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message 1: by Justin (new)

Justin (jmlindsay) | 323 comments Have any of you read Tim Severin Tim Severin ? I've been eyeing his Viking novels for quite some time, starting with Odinn's Child (Viking, #1) by Tim Severin . He's amazingly accomplished when it comes to his travels, but I have yet to put his writing to the test.


message 2: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments I'm on the fence with this series. I'm having trouble buying it, but I've only completed the first and bits of the second. It's an easy book for me to set aside for something else. Others have raved about it. I do like his writing style/prose.


message 3: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5212 comments Another book that keeps coming up in my recommendations but I'm not convinced it's worth the read yet.

The library has it so I might check it out sometime.


message 4: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I have own his Viking trilogy, but can't manage to push the boat out and read them.
My problem is that I bought the first two books in his other series Corsair (Hector Lynch, #1) by Tim Severin Buccaneer (Hector Lynch, #2) by Tim Severin and made the mistake of reading Corsair before trying the Viking books.
Corsair was awful, IMHO, and I couldn't get through it. The writing and storyline, erf. More like a really badly written YA. (Sorry Tim Severin if you ever see this).
I lent it to my father who reads and generally likes the same books as I and he managed to finish it, but wouldn't touch the second book with a ten foot pole because he disliked Corsair so much.

I also have someone in my friends list who tried the first Viking book a couple weeks back and couldn't get through it.

So, I am in a rock and a hard place. I was so turned off by Corsair that I keep putting off reading the first Viking book.


message 5: by Speesh (new)

Speesh I've read the Viking series and thought they were very good indeed.
I have reviewed them on Goodreads (without spoilers), if you wanna go have a look.
They are, in short, a history of the Vikings, novelised.


message 6: by Justin (new)

Justin (jmlindsay) | 323 comments Speesh, you've restored my interest in Severin's writing. I thank you.


message 7: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Yes, you've restored my interest too. I have had some really bad feedback from GR friends, but I think it is nearing the time for me to get that first book out and see for myself.


message 8: by Ben (new)

Ben Kane (benkane) | 299 comments I think extremely highly of Tim Severin as a writer when it comes to his voyages. Read them all, some several times. But he should stick to nonfiction, IMHO. I couldn't get past page 20 or so of his first Viking book.


message 9: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5212 comments I have read a discussion somewhere......about authors capable of writing good fiction & non-fiction and there were not many who did a good job of both.


message 10: by Justin (new)

Justin (jmlindsay) | 323 comments Well, since I own Odinn's Child, I'll give it a go. I'll let you know if I make it past page 20.


message 11: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Yes! Let us know! If you think it is worth the time, I might read it in September.


message 12: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Aug 02, 2012 03:04PM) (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Dawn wrote: "I have read a discussion somewhere......about authors capable of writing good fiction & non-fiction and there were not many who did a good job of both."

There is definitely something to this.
I think an author has better luck if he is a storyteller first and a non fiction writer later.
People who wrote many non fiction and then try to crossover into fiction don't usually pull it off. In my experience.


message 13: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Ben wrote: "I think extremely highly of Tim Severin as a writer when it comes to his voyages. Read them all, some several times. But he should stick to nonfiction, IMHO. I couldn't get past page 20 or so of hi..."

I suspect I will suffer a similar fate with the first book, Ben.
I find it hard to believe that the writing I struck in his Corsair book that made me run away as fast as I could from his fiction, could be totally different in the Viking series.


message 14: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments After all these years of owning it, I have finally started Odinn's Child (Viking, #1) by Tim Severin

Only 30 pages in. I like the writing better than his Corsair series but there hasn't been much dialogue yet and it is Severin's dialogue that I have issues with. The one section of dialogue in 30 pages had glimmers of what I didn't like in his Corsair series, modern and not terrific. Early days however...


message 15: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Sep 25, 2012 03:11PM) (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I am up to page 100 of Odinn's Son.
I can see why many people cannot get into these Viking books of Severin's.
There is a distinct absence of any dialogue of value. There is a narrator. The main character. Who is old and talking about his life.
It feels more like he is telling a Saga. There is little character interaction, little dialogue. There is also, heavy detail, page after page, and I feel I only about know the world these Northmen are living in and not actually who these Northmen are.
If only Severin could include more character development, especially through dialogue, this might be a very good book.


message 16: by Chris F (new)

Chris F | 419 comments Terri wrote: "I am up to page 100 of Odinn's Son.
I can see why many people cannot get into these Viking books of Severin's.
There is a distinct absence of any dialogue of value. There is a narrator. The main ch..."


I tried the first one in this series a few years back and couldn't get into it, can't remember why. I do remember being disappointed though as I had loved reading many of his travel/adventure books.


message 17: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments It nearly is one of his travel/adventure non fiction. lol. It is verging on non fiction because it is all description and no character development.


message 18: by Justin (new)

Justin (jmlindsay) | 323 comments Now I'm wavering again on whether I should start it. It may have just slid a bit further to the bottom of Mount To-be-read.


message 19: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments It is hard going, and would you believe..historical fantasy. Or at least on the cusp of, which is annoying me as I like rational explanations in my Historical fiction and sometimes I can't rationalise some of the fantasy scenes this author has included.
I wish authors would stick to truth and not include the unrealistic into historical fiction.


message 20: by Lee (new)

Lee Broderick | 482 comments You're doing a fantastic job of ensuring that I can soon click on that "not interested" button in my GoodReads recommendations.


message 21: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Well give me some more time and see what I can do about clinching that action.

It is written well, mind. He seems to write excessive description with some skill. I have no idea what his dialogue and character interaction is like though. I am yet to meet it.


message 22: by Lee (new)

Lee Broderick | 482 comments Well, not exactly the criticisms I was expecting before you began to read it!


message 23: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I actually surprised myself.
It won't be 4 or 5 star, likely a 3, but I was expecting to give it 1 or 2, so, strike me pink! How did that happen!


message 24: by Lee (new)

Lee Broderick | 482 comments There are strange goings on in the world.


message 25: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments ha. Yes'm.


message 26: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1874 comments Saxon The Book of Dreams (Saxon 1) by Tim Severin

Has any one read this, I picked it up today. Not many reviews on here about it.


message 27: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments No I had not seen that one. Not rating very well, which doesn't surprise me.
For anyone who does not like fantasy in their historical fiction, be aware that this one by Severin does sound like it could be fantasy. It is really hard to tell form the blurb if the 'dreams' and 'prophesy' can be explained rationally, so be aware.


message 28: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1874 comments I seem to picking those lately Terri. Lols


message 29: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Haha. You have a lot to learn, Skywalker. :-)
There are a lot of historical fantasy out there that masquerade as straight hf. There is nothing wrong with historical fantasy. But so many people, including me, like their hist fic to be rational. If it has anything fantasy like, such as dreams, it needs to be explainable to make it hist fic instead of hist fan.

When I find one that I am not sure about, I generally just let people know that I am not sure. :-)


message 30: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments I just picked up Odinn's Child (Viking, #1) by Tim Severin from the library an hour ago. I'll share my opinion with you once I read it [or a large portion thereof].


message 31: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I'll look for your views, Jane. Members seem quite split on the books. I didn't like the first one and decided not to read the second and third, but then others liked and even love the series. No telling what each individual will make of it.


message 32: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments Yes, I noticed members' opinions were mixed. The library only has #1 in the series if that tells you anything...it's very parsiminous w/ its book budget.


message 33: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments Odinn's Child (Viking, #1) by Tim Severin was a page-turner for me. I really enjoyed it! I can see where Severin's strength is his nonfiction, because of all the journeys, Iceland, Greenland, Ireland... I liked all the explanations and descriptions. I'm hoping at some point to read the rest of the trilogy. Of course, the 'memoir' is a common plot device I've run across in other books.


message 34: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I am actually pleased you liked it. Even though many don't, I am glad to see a more diverse opinion here on his books. It helps others who might think of trying them, to go into the books on an even keel. Having seen feedback for and against.


message 35: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments I'm thinking you have to be in a particular mood when you read it [and I guess I was.:)] I did pick up Viking Age Iceland by Jesse L. Byock , a nonfiction on all aspects of that historical period, and am perusing it.


message 36: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments Justin wrote: "Have any of you read Tim Severin Tim Severin? I've been eyeing his Viking novels for quite some time, starting with Odinn's Child (Viking, #1) by Tim Severin. He's amazingly accomplished when ..."

I've really liked Odinn's child and am now reading the 2nd in the series Sworn Brother (Viking, #2) by Tim Severin . King's Man (Viking, #3) by Tim Severin is on my TBR list.


message 37: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 10, 2013 07:39PM) (new)

Terri | 19506 comments He has that new one due out too. So if you continue to like his Hist fic you could try his new series. Although I am cautious about it being fantasy not hist fic. And I saw one Reviewer call it a Young Adult book.
Saxon The Book of Dreams (Saxon 1) by Tim Severin Saxon: The Book of Dreams


message 38: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments Thanks for calling it to my attention. I don't care if something is YA; a good book is a good book. I'm dubious about fantasy, as you are, though.


message 39: by Steven (new)

Steven McKay (stevenamckay) Mark wrote: "Saxon The Book of Dreams (Saxon, #1) by Tim Severin

Has any one read this, I picked it up today. Not many reviews on here about it."


I'm almost finished it, it's pretty good. There's some annoying fantasy elements and a few too many "lucky escapes" for the protagonist, but the writing style is easy to read.


message 40: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments Those fantasy elements are what makes me discard ever reading it.
I did not like the Viking trilogy he did, but was willing to try this new one....until I read about the fantasy. For my tastes, I find it a shame he did that.


message 41: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1874 comments Steven wrote: "Mark wrote: "Saxon The Book of Dreams (Saxon, #1) by Tim Severin

Has any one read this, I picked it up today. Not many reviews on here about it."

I'm almost finished it, it's pretty good. There's some..."


thanks for that steve. its still on "I may read one day shelf"


message 42: by Steven (last edited Jul 10, 2013 02:28PM) (new)

Steven McKay (stevenamckay) It's quite jarring actually. The first time he mentioned the shade I thought, okay, the protagonist is dreaming it or whatever. Then it happened again, and again, and it just seems so out of place.
I don't know why the editor didn't pick up on it - mine did. I originally had a kind of magical wise woman who appeared in similar fashion to my own protagonist, but my editor "suggested" the book would work much better without her. And she was right!
Tim's editor should have pointed out the same thing.
Other than that though, the way various people keep trying to kill the hero, but conveniently JUST miss him each time...it's wearing a bit thin that.
As I say though, I am enjoying the actual writing style, that's what's kept me going with it.


message 43: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I know some people don't care if there is that element in a book, but I sure do. I like my historical fiction straight fantasy free. If the author wants that sort of thing in his/her book, it is my opinion that he/she should be writing a full out fantasy. Not mess around with being half committed to the supernatural.


message 44: by Andy (new)

Andy | 1484 comments For one I liked the style of Odinns' Child & have the 2nd in the series forcing it's way to the top of my To-read list, for any who are a ? over this series, ive a short review posted which pretty much sums up what others have echoed above.


message 45: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments I liked all 3 in the series. I posted a review on #3.


message 46: by Justin (new)

Justin (jmlindsay) | 323 comments That's it! I'm back on for giving it a go. :)


message 47: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3457 comments Library only had #1, so I took a chance sight unseen and bought the other two in the series. I'm glad I did.


message 48: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19506 comments I sent my copies of the trilogy to fellow Aussie A&M member, Bryn. I suspect she will like them better than me.


message 49: by Nick (new)

Nick Smith (RoguesNest) | 90 comments I enjoyed Odinn's Child (for some reason 'add book' won't find it...). Admittedly it was a long time ago that I read it, but I remember liking the character. It was nice to hear the story of Viking marauders from the point of view of someone who isn't a lord of war.

Loving pirates as much as I do, I made myself read his Corsair and sequels, but was far less impressed. I just found all the characters a bit two dimensional and dull.

Maybe I'll get around to his last Viking book some day, and his Saxon one too if I stumble across it.


message 50: by Julia (new)

Julia (julia_kulak) | 14 comments Me too. I started the first book a few years ago, and really liked it. I have all three scanned courtesy of my local library at the time.


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