As teachers, we often need to learn about subjects of little to no interest to us. That's exactly how I felt about Vikings when I placed them on our list of things to study this year. After reading West
Oversea, I find the subject fascinating me. West
Oversea is an adventure novel set during the time of Leif Ericson. The story is told in first person by Father Ailil, the priest to Erling Skjalgsson. Erling is a good man who seeks to see the spread of Christianity in Norway. He is an honorable leader, a friend to slaves, and a willing adventurer. When Father Ailil suggests going to Greenland for the purpose of finding his long lost sister, Erling is kind enough to agree. The trip is complicated by demonic forces that grab hold of all they can get, beginning with Father Ailil.
West Oversea provides an educational and entertaining view of Viking life. It's also a great morality tale that addresses temptations and the effects of sin in the spirit realm. Some parts of the book were high action. Others were quiet and thought provoking. The list of characters was extensive and a bit intimidating. Nevertheless, I was completely locked into the story before I even finished the first chapter. I was locked into the story. I truly didn't expect to get hooked!
I believe West Oversea is most appropriate for upper middle or high school ages. There are instances of foul language in the book, and Father Ailil has a struggle with lust that is alluded to but not graphically explored. Parents may want to read the book prior to giving it to their child. Reading it ahead would also allow you to discuss truth, temptation, greed, and many other interesting topics. It's important to remember that West
Oversea is a depiction of Christianity forming in Norway. These characters are not well-versed Christians, and they are portrayed as men who seek God while struggling with releasing their pagan ways. If you prefer to avoid flawed characters, then you will want to stay clear of this book.
I enjoyed West Oversea very much. I felt so caught up in the story that I could almost feel the fierce cold of the Icelandic snow. I would recommend this book to others. The price is typical for books of this length. For $12.95 you can join me and become hooked on the fascinating life of Vikings.