Odin Edge is my first novel now in existence as of yesterday in book-form!
I wrote Odin Edge somewhere about two years ago, the final result of a few years continuously working on an Anglo-Saxon Viking novel set in the early 870’s AD in what was then in my part of England in Gloucestershire the kingdom of Mercia. That time was all about getting my mind into that world and time, trying to understand how Anglo-Saxon England worked and what the significant Viking incursions of the mid 800’s AD were like to live within as a person. Since then my knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon times has greatly evolved and flourished, and there is always much be to learnt. In Odin Edge I wanted to be in the skin of the ordinary population, the Anglo Saxon common man and woman, and to embark on a journey through their experience of having their lives traumatically interrupted by incoming Vikings. I was never interested in the kind of narratives which came the position of the more advantaged and priviledged peoples inhabiting history. In Anglo Saxon England of the novel that class would have corresponded with the numerous landowner warrior strata of the thanes, and then above them the ealdormen who were generally the top magnates and went around with the king. My main characters Alfswith, Wulfmar and Ceolric all come from the Cheltenham/Winchcombe area. They have neither the status nor weapons to actually fight groups of raiding Vikings, indeed I’n not interested in fighting very much (to be clear at this point fighting does occur in the novel it would be surprising if it didn’t with the name Odin in it). I imagined a Viking warband coming into this area from their recorded inroads made into the midlands in the early 870’s breaking into Mercia’s heartland at Repton and then Tamworth. A great winter encampment was made at Tamworth. From Tamworth it is not far for an eager, fearless and roving band of Vikings to travel down to the Warwickshire Avon, then go down into Worcester. I will now add for those who are unaware that at the time the Vikings were not widely called ‘Vikings’ by folk living here, they were given the name of ‘Northmen’ or ‘Danes’ whether or not they came from Denmark. Vikings did not also have to come from Scandinavia, some came from Frisia that is part of the Netherlands. Another interesting matter is that the Gloucester/Worcester area of the novel from all my research was definitely never badly attacked by the Vikings, it probably suffered from some raids and from the Heathen Army extracting loads of tribute out of Mercia’s rich estates, but not much more. There’s names of Scandinavia origin and settlements ending in ‘By’ if you go further up north towards Nottingham and Leicester. The Clent Hills near Birmingham is supposed to have been named or influenced by the Scandinavian tongue from ‘Klint’ similar to ‘Cliff’. Below the Midlands though, apart from places like Norfolk, Scandinavian influenced names mostly do not exist. Around York there are the main concentration of Norse names in England and Cumbria has some Hiberno-Norse names (Irish-Norse). Anyway my novel only goes as far as the Ardens in what is now the Birmingham area, then my characters have to go home. Home is really what pushes everyone, even the Vikings in their extraordinary rovings always had an eye out for land that would make a good home to settle down in.
Note: the name Odin Edge I chose because naturally Odin has a place in the novel and Edge is a name found used for the Cotswolds Edge or escarpment where my characters live literally beneath. Edge is also used in Old English for a sword. There is the third allusion to borders or ‘edge of the land’.
(How to acquire Odin Edge: so far this will be how you acquire the book, send me five pounds in an envelope with your address to my address, No.46 Spillmans Rd, Stroud, GL5 3LS and I’ll send it as soon as I can)