Odin’s Child: Book One of the Odd Tangle-Hair Saga

Written by Bruce Macbain
Review by Justin M. Lindsay

Though much has changed in Iceland with the coming of the men who favor the White Christ over the old gods, and though the heralded days of the seaborne Vikings are in their twilight, the ancient custom of the blood feud is alive and well. Odd Tangle-Hair, the youngest son of an ostracized godi, a priest of Odin, finds himself and his family in the thick of one when he and his brother seek vengeance upon a neighbor. When the bloodshed doesn’t end there, Odd finds himself bereft of family and exiled.

What follows is a saga worthy of the skalds from his homeland. Burdened with shame and guilt, Odd must find a new path for himself, one that takes him into new lands, across seas, and into the heart of wars and courtly intrigues. An unruly crew, inscrutable Lapps, and wicked Finns further complicate his Fate. He’ll need every scrap of his wit, sword skill, and sheer nerve to navigate these uncharted waters.

Macbain has turned from his home stomping grounds of ancient Rome to this first in a new Viking series. His writing is vivid and compelling, and his understanding of Norse and Icelandic culture and history is woven deftly throughout the tale. The cast of characters is well-fleshed out and Odd makes for a wonderful protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I eagerly await its sequel. Highly recommended.