Ice Land

Written by Betsy Tobin
Review by Mike Ashworth

Ice Land is set in the year 1000 AD in Iceland, where Asgard, the home of the Norse gods, is portrayed as a mountainous region far inland, and each of the gods occupies their own homestead— separate and yet very much a daily part of the lives of the Icelandic people. It is a time of change, when Christianity is challenging the traditional beliefs of the Icelandic people while the great volcano, Mount Hekla, threatens to erupt and destroy Asgard itself.

At the centre of the story are two powerful female characters: Freya, the Norse goddess of love, who flies through the skies in a cloak of feathers in search of a magnificent gold necklace—the Brisingamen—and exchanges sexual favours in order to possess it; and Fulla, who falls dangerously in love with a member of a warring clan.

The descriptions of the bleak landscape paint a vivid picture of a cold, forbidding, and yet beautiful land. The dialogue is crisp, bringing to life the characters, both deities and mortals, without being anachronistic. Betsy Tobin has a love for Iceland and the Icelandic people, which comes through in this book using the Norse sagas as the inspiration to produce a fascinating and enjoyable read. Recommended.