Vikings

RagnarDid you happen to see the pilot of Vikings on the History Channel last Sunday? If you missed it, you can view the first two episodes online. I haven’t been this excited about a TV series since I discovered Downton Abbey.

Of course, I have a soft spot in my heart for those Nordic barbarians. My first two novels, Maidensong and Erinsong, are set in the Viking world. (Dragonsong, the final book in the Songs of the North trilogy will be out later this year!) And this new series shows so many things that captivate me about this time period.

MaidenSong

Click to read an excerpt!

History is usually told by the victors, but in this case, much of what we know about the Vikings came from their victims. Once they began raiding outside the Scandinavian fjords, they showed up in the chronicles of the day and every Christian soul in ‘civilized’ Europe began to pray “Deliver us, O Lord, from the fury of the Northmen.”

But they weren’t simply mindless raiders. In the late 8th century, they were making technological advances like a keel for their sleek, beautiful longships and a sun compass that allowed them to calculate latitude. And while the rest of Europe bathed once a year whether they needed it or not, the Vikings bathed once a week and took great pride in their appearance.

They were the last population group to convert to Christianity, but that didn’t mean they had no moral sense of “ought-ness.” The Norse had a detailed collection of laws with punishments for specific crimes carefully laid out. They had a rich mythology, as complex as the Greco-Roman system of gods and goddesses. It’s a fascinating culture and I’m so glad the History Channel is doing such a good job of recreating it.

Of course, it’s not the Regency. The women don’t wear gorgeous gowns and there are no fine balls. But the Vikings knew how to love and how to hate and they thought a man’s chief duty was to provide for and protect his family. In my book, that’s hero material.

Erinsong

Click to read an excerpt!

For years, the historical romance genre has shrunk to mean only stories set in England and then only in the Georgian-Regency-Victorian eras. With the success of Downton Abbey, I expect the late Edwardian, early 20th century to creep into the mix, but that still leaves a mammoth portion of the world and its history left unvisited by the romance world.

What do you think? Are you willing to read outside the box? What unusual setting has captivated you? Or if you are a historical purist, please share why you love the Regency. (Don’t worry, I love it too. But I do enjoy dabbling in other times and places as well.)

5 thoughts on “Vikings

  1. Laurie Evans says:

    Yes, I should have mentioned, I loved Lord of Fire and Ice, too. One of my favorite reads of 2012.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Laurie. When I first wrote my “Song” books, I had hopes of Vikings becoming the next Scotsmen in popularity with the romance crowd. That hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps if more readers get a taste of that world through the History Channel, they’ll be willing to give my out-of-the-box stories a try.

  2. Laurie Evans says:

    Yes, I watched it last week, and I’ll watch it again tonight. I read your book, Maidensong, loved it! Can’t wait to read Erinsong, too. Glad to see you’ll be writing a third book for the series.

    This time period is out of my usual reading zone, but I’ll read almost anything, and I like to learn about different time periods.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      The time period is out of most romance readers comfort zone, but love is the universal theme of my work and that knows no time.

      In addition to the the 3rd “Song” book Dragonsong, you might enjoy Lord of Fire and Ice (one of my collaborations with NYTimes bestseller Connie Mason) It’s set in 10th century Scandinavia with a pinch of magic thrown in for good measure!

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