REVIEW: Axe of Iron the Settlers ~ J. A. Hunsinger ~ Vinland Publishers, LLC ~ Historical Fiction

Title: Axe of Iron: The Settlers

Author: J.A. Hunsinger
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Publisher: Vinland Publishers, LLC
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Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 2008
ISBN: 978-0-9801601-0-9
Length: 400 pages
Format: Paperback
Reviewer: Lucille P. Robinson

Halfdan Ingolfsson and the shipmates accompanying him left Greenland with their minds filled with the stories told by other Northmen—Northmen who had been successful in helping to build two settlements on the eastern coast of North America long before Columbus was born. Halfdan understood the hardships of carving a living space out of virgin territory. He knew about the fights with the area’s inhabitants known as Skraelings (thought to have been Indians). As a result, Halfdan wants to go to a different place, hoping to make contact with different Skraelings and try to live peaceably amongst them.

With five ships in the fleet, all loaded with women, children, the crews, tools, and domestic animals the people will need, Halfdan sets sail to the west of Greenland. Five days after setting sail, they arrive at a beach where they spend several days building up their stores of food. Here they meet and trade with the Indians called Tornit.

As the flotilla sets sail once again, they head west and then south, following the coastline and traveling several days before visiting another beach where they meet the Thalmiut. The next morning Halfdan takes a few women and part of the fighting men to visit the Thalmiut village where they trade items and learn many new things. While Halfdan is gone, the settlers face the first real battle in the new land. Other Indians from another tribe start the battle, but they are no match for the Northmen. After Halfdan’s return from his trading adventure, and the taking of a prisoner, they set sail south still following the coastline. With the help of the captured Indian, the Northmen find a wonderful spot just off a fjord, with high ground, plenty of trees and food for hunting. Here they decide to make their village. “Here” is present day Hudson Bay, at the southern beach.

The story ends with a premonition of a future battle with the Naskapi Indians. Look for its sequel—Axe of Iron: Confrontation. The student of history and the reader who loves historical romances and accounts of explorations of new lands will love this book. Good descriptions, although a little slow reading at first, gives the reader a fair idea of the Northmen’s way of life, their tools, their dreams and their labors. The thrill of facing the unknown and the courage of these pioneer men and women make this book a good read. I recommend this book to them and to those who have been attracted to the stories of the Vikings of old.

J.A. Hunsinger lives in Colorado, USA, with his wife Phyllis. He has been associated with commercial aviation, both in and out of the cockpit. As an engineering technical writer for Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group, of Phoenix, AZ, he authored two comprehensive pilots’ manuals on aircraft computer guidance systems and several supplemental aircraft radar manuals. His manuals are published and distributed worldwide to airline operators by Honeywell Engineering.

Axe of Iron series, starting with The Settlers, is the culmination of a lifelong interest in the Viking Age—especially as it pertains to Norse exploration west of Iceland—and extensive research and archaeological site visitations as an amateur historian. He has tied the discovery of many of the Norse artifacts found on this continent to places and events portrayed in his novels. The next book of the series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation willpublish during the fall of 2008

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