Set in Viking Greenland in AD 985, this dramatic historical novel focuses on the intertwined lives of three women straddling the pagan past and Christian future
Katla is a slave and daughter of a Christian woman captured in a Viking raid on Irish shores. Setting sail from Iceland with her master's household, she heads toward the distant promise of a new homestead in Greenland. Also on the ship is Thorbjorg the Seeress, a much maligned and persecuted healer and prophetess who is ever faithful to the call of her patron god, Odin.
Upon first arriving in Greenland, Katla is brutally raped by her master's son, Torvard. The child of this union is Bibrau: taciturn, reclusive, infused with the savagery of her conception and suspected by many to be a changeling. But the seeress Thorbjorg, following a vision from her god, takes Bibrau as her apprentice. The young girl becomes an adept at healing and Norse magic, but her bitterness perverts the wisdom Thorbjorg gives. As her power grows, Bibrau twists it to good or evil at her whim, inflicting her will on Thorbjorg's household, her mother and the tight-knit Greenland community.
The Thrall's Tale is a chronicle of love, hatred and revenge at a turning point in history when Christianity first penetrates the pagan Viking sphere. The schisms, alliances and sacrifices that result reflect the pain of a dying culture and the birth of a different world.
One of the most notable aspects of The Thrall's Tale is the language used. It is as if Lindbergh has scraped away the Latin influences on the English language leaving behind the archaic syntax and vocabulary of the older Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse roots. The result is a moody, dark writing style, positively reeking with atmosphere and foreboding that, once one is used to it, evokes the bleak landscape and tough people to a tee. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The Philadelphia Inquirer The Thrall’s Tale is an epic of the first degree. . . . With a mother vs. daughter theme, murder, revenge, [and] a heartbreaking love affair . . . The Thrall’s Tale defines the genre [of historical fiction].
Booklist - Marta Segal
The Christian-pagan clash and mystical feminism have echoes of The Mists of Avalon, but the lack of a familiar background, landscape, or characters may make it intimidating for those not already interested in the time period.
A long, ill-shaped, bleak but atmospheric take of the Middle Ages.
Lindbergh's language is occasionally overwrought, but her well-researched and emotional evocations of characters in a time of religious and social upheaval are dramatic and entertaining.
Inspired by the Norse sagas, this first novel by Lindbergh, who has published poetry and travel and cultural pieces in numerous journals, is thoroughly researched and beautifully executed. Highly recommended.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Heather The Thrall's Tale I was very excited to start this book, and had high hopes for it, but ended up not finishing it.The atmosphere of the book was very dark, and although the plot was semi-interesting, the odd language the author chose to use was very off-putting. I... Read More
Greenland Then: There is evidence of habitation in Greenland up
until about 200 AD, but then the islands appear to have been uninhabited
until the Norse settlers from Iceland arrived led by Eric The Red. Around 1200 Inuit from North America migrated
southwards and appear to have coexisted peacefully with the Norse.
However, by the mid 14th century all signs of habitation by descendants of the
Norse had disappeared, possibly due to famine brought on by the "Little Ice Age"
(starting in the mid-13th century), possibly by other factors explored in
chapters 6-8 of Jared Diamond's
Greenland Now: Resettlement of Greenland by the Danes began in the 18th
century. In 1953 Greenland was made an equal part of the Danish Kingdom
and in 1979 home rule was granted. It is considered the world's
largest island (about 3 times the size of Texas), about four-fifths of its land
is covered in ice caps, and permafrost covers two-thirds of the island.
It's current population is about 56,000.
Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined
to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...