Book Review: Viking: Odinn’s Child

Title: Viking: Odinn’s Child
Author: Tim Severin
Rating: 6/10


Happy Monday fellow readers. As always, Monday is book review day, and today I am taking a look at Viking: Odinn’s Child by Tim Severin.


In 1001, the young child, Thorgils Leiffson, son of Leif the Lucky and Thorgunna, arrives on the shores of Greenland to be brought up by a young woman—Gudrid. Thorgils is a rootless character of quicksilver intelligence and adaptability. He has inherited his mother’s ability of second sight, and his mentors teach him the ancient ways and warn him of the invasion of the “White Christ” into the land of the “Old Gods.” Guided by a restless quest for adventure and the wanderlust of his favored god, Odinn, Thorgils’ fortunes will take him into worlds of unimaginable danger and discovery.


Odinn’s Child was one of my first real experiences into the historical fiction genre and Viking culture as a whole.

I had been a fan of history and fantasy since I started reading, but most of the stories that I experienced and fell in love with up to this point were Ancient Mediterranean or the Middle Ages.

Knights. Dragons. Magical swords. Castles.

Demi-Gods, Ancient heroes. Magical Monsters.

These were the stories that wowed me as a young reader, because Vikings, Ancient Egypt, and dozens of other cultures weren’t brought to my attention as much.

Odinn’s child changed that though. It opened my eyes to what the Vikings were, and the Norse Mythology that came along with them.


Norse Mythology, bloody battles, and a brief glimpse into the world of 1000s Europe, Odinn’s child is the first volume in the Viking Trilogy and all 350 odd pages will leave you wanting more.

The story follows a young boy, Thorgils Leiffson, the son of Leif the Lucky and Thorgunna as he arrives in Greenland to be fostered by a young woman – Gudrid.

Thorgils is a quick witted, intelligent, and very adaptable character that has inherited his mother’s ability of second sight.

Thorgils, who is basically orphaned, is raised by various mentors during his time in Greenland. They teach him the ways to worship the Norse Gods, along with their ancient customs, and warn him of the ‘White Christ’ that is making its way into the land of the ‘Old Gods’

Thorgils has a sense of adventure and looks to Odinn as his favoured god. Death, battle, disease, execution, and shipwreck are just some of the adventures that await Thorgils in Odinn’s child.


Severin does a good job of giving readers a steady look into Thorgils progression from a boy to a man.

He learns from several mentors, about many different things, but it never seems rushed, despite being contained within 350 odd pages.

The look into the Viking culture and the spread of Christianity into their lifestyle is an interesting plot for the book.

It’s not the major plot-line, but it nicely compliments the story and helps drive it forward by introducing new conflicts and characters.


Historical fiction isn’t a genre that I have delved too deeply into, but I want to get into the genre. I still have my copy of Odinn’s child from when I read it as a young teenager, and I might read it again to re-experience a series I loved as a kid.

Quote of the Day: Norse Mythology

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Of course it was Loki. It’s always Loki.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“He said nothing: seldom do those who are silent make mistakes.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Loki was not evil, although he was certainly not a force for good. Loki was . . . complicated.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Fair enough,” said Thor. “What’s the price?” “Freya’s hand in marriage.” “He just wants her hand?” asked Thor hopefully. She had two hands, after all, and might be persuaded to give up one of them without too much of an argument. Tyr had, after all. “All of her,” said Loki. “He wants to marry her.” “Oh,” said Thor. “She won’t like that.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Rebirth always follows death.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“That was the thing about Loki. You resented him even when you were at your most grateful, and you were grateful to him even when you hated him the most.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

Loki makes the world more interesting but less safe. He is the father of monsters, the author of woes, the sly god.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Cease your weeping!” he said. “It is I, Loki, here to rescue you!”
Idunn glared at him with red-rimmed eyes. “It is you who are the source of my troubles.” she said.
“Well, perhaps. But that was so long ago. That was yesterday’s Loki. Today’s Loki is here to save you and take you home.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Loki’s green eyes flashed with anger and with admiration, for he loved a good trick as much as he hated being fooled.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“That is how the worlds will end, in ash and flood, in darkness and in ice. That is the final destiny of the gods.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

No one, then or now, wanted to drink the mead that came out of Odin’s ass. But whenever you hear bad poets declaiming their bad poetry, filled with foolish similes and ugly rhymes, you will know which of the meads the have tasted.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“Loki was trying to look serious, but even so, he was smiling at the corners of his mouth. It was not a reassuring smile.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“One of the dwarfs walked in front of Thor to get a better view of the prye, and Thor kicked him irritably into the middle of the flames, which made Thor feel slightly better and made all the dwarfs feel much worse.”
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

“This will be the age of cruel winds, the age of people who become as wolves, who prey upon each other, who are no better than wild beasts. Twilight will come to the world, and the places where the humans live will fall into ruins, flaming briefly, then crashing down and crumbling into ash and devastation.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

Book Review: Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology was a book I had on my radar the minute I heard about it. I’m extremely interested in all things mythology and history, as you should know by now, and Norse mythology has interested me since I was a teenager.

Greek and Roman myth are shoved down our throats time after time, but Norse myth has sort of taken a step back from stories and movies, until Thor became popular in the MCU.

I would argue that Marvel is one of the biggest reasons Norse myth and stories are still alive. Scholars and academics have been fascinated with them for a long time, but a big reason we don’t get to learn these stories as much as Greek or Roman is because there isn’t much to learn.

Not a lot of the stories and poems survived the test of time, which is unfortunate to those who want to know more.

Gaiman, in my opinion, does a wonderful job of taking these stories, written hundreds of years ago in a language few of us can understand, and turned them into something that modern audiences can enjoy.

I’d read one other book by Gaiman before this, but as most of us probably have heard, his reputation as an outstanding author precedes him.

Not only were the stories funny, interesting, and informative, I thought they were very thought provoking because they told the story in a way that allowed me to understand how some of these stories would have come about.

Most mythology books are a bit tough to get through, at best. If they’re written well, they are written as a story that is easy to follow, and not as a historical retelling.

At worst, they’re basically a translation from ancient Greek/Latin that put you to sleep more than they entertain you.

Norse Mythology was the best myth-related book I’ve read because it was like reading a bunch of short stories that really didn’t overlap at all, other than the characters involved.

If you know any of Norse myth stories, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in this book, along with all your favourite, or least favourite characters.

Thor, Loki, Odin, Baldur, Freya, they’re all there and more. You’ll learn about some gods you’ve never heard of, and even get to read about how a baby killed a blind man, and I’m not joking.

There are two things about Norse Mythology that I found kind of funny and that are also commonplace with most stories involving a “god” of some kind.

The first is that gods are assholes. No need for anything but being blunt, they’re assholes, and to them it’s always normal.

Bet a man he can’t build a wall in a month? Kill him because he is close to doing it. Jealous of Thor’s wife? Rip out her hair. Guy doesn’t want you coming into his home and drinking his mead? Kill him.

There are very few actual “good” gods in mythology. Yes some come across as good and all, but when it comes down to it, they’re usually assholes, and I kinda love it. I love that they are so clearly seeing themselves above everyone else.

The second thing that I love about a lot of mythological stories of gods is how “smart” they are.

Gods are so clever. They can outsmart any mere mortal. Except most of the time, they really aren’t that smart. Most of their problems they just solve by making themselves look like something else, or smashing them with a really big hammer.

Now to me, that doesn’t really seem that clever, but I like how the world and the gods think it is.

There’s one more thing I wanted to mention about Norse Mythology, and that’s how quickly I got through it.

Being used to taking a month or so to finish an 800 ish page fantasy book, I found that I flew through Norse Mythology extremely fast.

I started it on a Monday morning and had it done by Saturday afternoon, and most of the reading was done on the 20ish minute bus ride to and from work each day.

It wasn’t that the book was that short even, more so that it was that easy to read, which I think is a compliment to Gaiman’s abilities to write a book based off of established stories.