Book review - The Ship in the Hill by William L. Sullivan
Review by Becky
This historical novel is based on the true story of the excavation of a Viking burial ship from a hill in Norway in 1904. The find dumbfounded archeologists because it was the most elaborate Viking grave ever discovered, yet the bones in the grave belonged to a woman. Historians had assumed that the Viking world -- and certainly Viking ships -- were ruled by men. Who was this woman? The Ship in the Hill alternates chapters between the archeologists unearthing the ship and the Viking queen who sailed it a thousand years before.
"I have to say though it is the first time I've come across a genuine mix of viking history and norse fantasy mixed together although having said that quite a few norse fantasy ones are set in viking times but this book deals with specific historical real life figures (although some scenes may be very fictional)."
If you have ever read Labyrinth or Sepulcher by Kate Mosse - with their blend of characters and adventure in two paralell time periods then you will love this especially if you are a fan of viking heritage, history, culture and people - particularly those who lived in the beginning of Norway as a united country.
It grips you from the start with some wonderful characters and clashing personalities and gives a really insightful view on what archeologists (especially female ones) must have had to cope with back at the start of the twentieth century.
The story is mainly centred in historic fact (of course with a big dollop of fiction) but even when you're absorbed into the viking era chapters a wee bit of norse mythological powers and gods steps in just to remind you how much the old ways still mattered and influenced people at the time when Christianity was on the rise across all the norse countries.
The characters in both time periods face dawnting challenges although it could be said that the main characters in the viking era fair worse through the many battles and trials they experience. But throughout each one you're silently there willing them to continue to achieve their goals. At some stages it seems like the tribulations of one character will never end but you can't help but sigh with relief when she survives to complete the happy ending that made history. Love and romance too is featured with the present time characters but they face more emotional challenges than those in the past where it is literally a physical fight for survival.
To me this book is a perfect blend of my two favourite genres - viking history and norse fantasy although the viking history is a major part. It is a perfect read for any who admire the vikings ways, great battles, historical heroes and heroines and of course a happy ending with some lovers.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
Related Fantasy Guides:
- Return to the Viking Main Page
- Norse Fantasy books. Check out the guide here
- and Viking Historical novels, recommendations and reviews here