Born a Viking


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
273 Pages
Reviewed on 12/26/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Born a Viking: Blót by Riccardo Polacci is a fantastic tale of Viking family life, myths, lore, and their gathering every nine years, known as Blót, at their most sacred temple complex in Uppsala, Sweden. Sigurd is just nine years old when he and his family make the long and hazardous journey to Uppsala. Accompanied by his grandmother, mother, younger sister, and his moody and mysterious father Eirik, Sigurd is keen to learn more about Viking lore as well as to discover more about his father’s past. When he learns that his father and his father’s friend, the giant redhead Olaf, are part of a legendary and mystical group of Shaman warriors dedicated to following Odin but are outcasts to most of Viking society, Sigurd is shocked and disturbed. His father's and Olaf’s past deeds and battles are a mystery to him but when Sigurd begins to have visions from Odin, telling him to follow in his father’s footsteps, he is torn between his family and the All-Father God himself. When violence and plots begin to disrupt the religious celebrations of Blót, Sigurd must grow up and learn to be a man quickly before all is lost.

Born a Viking: Blót is a fantastic book. I have read many Viking stories in the past but these were usually focused on the raiding and savagery of Viking invaders in the lands they conquered. This book is very different. With its focus on a Viking family, its customs, its lore, and the biggest religious celebration, it was new and fresh for me. Author Riccardo Polacci has created an exciting tale that imparts great knowledge of historical practices, as well as a social commentary on Viking society. This should be the goal of all historical fiction authors, so kudos to him. The action is fast and furious and the author pulls no punches in describing the carnage and bloody mayhem of battle, which will fulfill all adrenaline junkie readers' needs. I particularly appreciated the position Sigurd found himself in, caught between childhood and becoming a man. His confusion over things he simply didn’t understand and his ways of dealing with it were one of the highlights for me. I also enjoyed seeing that even giant fighting men like Olaf, Eirik, and their fellow warriors all had a gentler, softer, more caring side. This gave the story the balance it needed. This book is only one episode in what promises to be a wonderful series. I look forward to the next iteration of Sigurd’s adventures with anticipation. This is a wonderfully satisfying book that I can highly recommend.