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‘Althingi: The Crescent and the Northern Star’ - Advance Book Review

I love history, so when I was approached to read the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of an anthology of historical fiction about the interaction of Viking voyagers with Islamic emissaries in the 10th century, I had to say yes. I mean, who doesn’t love Vikings mixing it up with the dynamic and powerful Islamic kingdoms of that time period? I do admit that having a Master’s degree in Arabic and the Cultural History of the Arabs did influence me a bit. But then again, it has Vikings.

Though the name of the anthology may sound strange, it is, in fact, the Norse word for “gathering.” The interesting and overall well-written stories were either inspired by real-life events or Norse mythology which added to their depth. One of my favorites was "The Gold of Iskander" by Nicholas Kotar. A fictionalized version of Prince Oleg of Kiev’s attack on Persian Azerbaijan, it was told from the point of view of a poor Russian farm boy who joined the army after killing his brother. (It doesn’t end well.) The other was "Wave Runners" by Kaitlin Felix.  This story centered on an all-female Viking crew led by Gyda the Grim and how she deftly managed her small trading ship, attacks from another Viking ship, and the complex politics and trading agreements between her own people and an Islamic kingdom. (Whew!) The authors themselves come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences which reflect in the stories themselves.

Since what I read was an ARC, it was missing an introduction and a foreword of which the addition will greatly help in explaining the importance of this anthology and why the editors chose this project. I also would have liked a more dynamic cover, but that may just be me. Nevertheless, the editors did a great job of choosing a wide variety of fascinating stories for such an ambitious project. They are currently on Kickstarter until May 25, 2021.


Creative Team: Muhammed Aurangzeb Ahmad and Joshua Gillingham (editors)
Publisher: Outlander Entertainment LLC
Click here to purchase.
On Kickstarter until May 25, 2021.




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