Saturday, January 24, 2009
The Saga of Beowulf by R. Scot Johns
"The Saga of Beowulf" is the first complete and accurate novelization of the epic 10th century Old English poem "Beowulf," chronicling the rise of the emerging Nordic nations, the tragic feuding of their clans, epic battles with mythological creatures, and the final, futile struggle of one man against the will of Fate that made of him a Legend.
"Breathtaking in scope and relentless in pace," the story follows the Nordic hero Beowulf as he embarks upon a fateful quest for vengeance against the creature that slew his father, setting in motion a sequence of events that will bring about the downfall of a nation, all the while fleeing from the woman he has sworn to love. Based on extensive historical research and steeped in Norse mythology and lore, the saga unfolds across the frozen fields of Sweden and the fetid fens of Denmark, ranging from the rocky heights of Geatland to the sprawling battlefields of ancient France.
What an incredible epic story. I received this book sometime in November and it rested in my TBR pile throughout the Christmas break. I have spoken of my difficulty in reading and reviewing over the break due to my state of mind and frankly this book is a tome...not exactly conducive to light reading. A daunting 600 page novelization of the story of the Norse hero Beowulf. It is absolutely accurate to the old English poem written in the tenth century and R. Scot Johns has completely adapted this tale from the old English to a modern retelling as a piece of fiction.
I have really enjoyed it but it took forever to read. The size of the font is small and my eyes are getting quite bad so I could only concentrate on the pages for about 50 at a time. This is NOT the way that I prefer to read. I love to completely submerge myself in a story and inhale it as if enjoying the most delicious spaghetti supper. This is not a book for the fainthearted either...once you begin the story it is hard to put down. Beowulf becomes this flesh and blood man who seeks out challenges that will befit his role as a hero for his people the Geats and ensure his place in Valhalla for all eternity.
R. Scot Johns writes with great detail and describes the settings and characters as if it he was setting the stage for a movie. He originally visualized and wrote the tale as a screenplay but rethought his decision to tell the story as a novel when two other movie screenplays were sold for production at the same time. I would liked to have read the screenplay. I loved the story and it is an easy read but it is too darn long. Sometimes there is just too much story to contain it within one volume so it might be more appealing if it was divided logically into a multi volume tale.
This is a 'massively' good read!