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Posted December 16, 2012
I would suggest this book if you have a good working knowlege of the various sagas and eddas that make up most Scandinavian and Icelandic lore/mythology, as the author admits in the foreword that this was originally intended as an academic thesis, rather than a book for someone with a passing interest in the subject matter. That being said, I would not call myself a scholar of the material, nor have I studiedthe various sagas that are referenced within, and I still got a good idea as to the beliefs and practices of the Norse surrounding death and the afterlife/disposition of the soul.
I was personally more intetested sbout the figure of Hel as a goddess of the dead, as well as information about Helheim/Niflheim, and sadly, regardless of the title, there is very little on either of these subjects. I kmow there isn't a lot in the Lore to draw from, but I feel what is contained in the work is more focussed on the wider topics of death, rebirth, the journey into the lands of the dead, from a much broader perspective.
Like many old books that have been converted into e-format, this edition is riddled with copy errors; when dealing with lots of words in Old Norse and other non-english languages, it can sometimes be hard to discern between a copy error, words in other languages, and some archaic or timely speech a modern reader may not be used to. (Thanks go to the one touch dicitionary/google/wikipedia!)
Overall, I enjoyed the book and it gave me much to think about in terms of how my ancestors viewed life, death, and the spaces between before these cultural practices were erased, destroyed, and replaced by the Christian invasion. If you know your eddas from your sagas, this book is a dense but quick read.