Under the Mound

Overview

It is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga that in 1153 Earl Harald and his men were caught in a snowstorm in Orkney. They took shelter in the mound of Orkahaugr and there two of them went mad.

Nearly nine hundred years have passed with no explanation for what happened to those men under the mound. Until now. During the Yule season of 1153 Malcolm mac Alasdair is sent to serve the half-Scots, half-Viking Earl of Orkney, who is on a quest to regain his earldom from a treacherous ...

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Overview

It is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga that in 1153 Earl Harald and his men were caught in a snowstorm in Orkney. They took shelter in the mound of Orkahaugr and there two of them went mad.

Nearly nine hundred years have passed with no explanation for what happened to those men under the mound. Until now. During the Yule season of 1153 Malcolm mac Alasdair is sent to serve the half-Scots, half-Viking Earl of Orkney, who is on a quest to regain his earldom from a treacherous cousin. Malcolm is an artistic boy with no knack for warfare. He is certain that he will only hinder the young earl and get himself killed in the bargain. His father’s reason for sending him on the dangerous venture does nothing to allay his fears: in a vision he has seen Malcolm go to Orkney with Earl Harald. But the vision is incomplete. He has not seen Malcolm return. This unique novel masterfully blends the historical and archaeological record with medieval Norse beliefs in the story of a boy who journeys to the edges of his world to take on fate, the matter of honour and powers he never dreamed existed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Quill and Quire, John Wilson
"Using Norse sagas, runes carved on an ancient Orkney tomb, and generous doses of imagination, Heinrichs has crafted a long, complex story that is part historical fiction, part mystery and part fantasy."
           
CM Magazine:
"For readers who like to delve into a long book and become immersed in another time and place, Under the Mound is an excellent choice."
 
Resource Links review, Under the Mound
"The story is part historical fiction, part fantasy and part examination of the growing Christian faith vis-à-vis ancient Norse legends, gods and beliefs. It is an ambitious work and for the most part it succeeds."

 

Kirkus Reviews
Around an eldritch incident recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga, Heinrichs spins a 12th-century coming-of-age tale rich in both political intrigue and supernatural visitations. Dispatched by his roaring father to join a company gathered by young earl Harald Maddadson, who is out to regain control of Orkney from a usurper, Malcolm Mac Alasdair is cast into a maelstrom of political maneuvering and murky alliances. When part of the expedition is forced by a storm to take refuge in an old barrow, he finds himself engaged as well in a deadly struggle with the tomb's raging occupant. Though the verbal sparring among Harald's advisors and positively Shakespearean family (his mother Margaret makes Lady Macbeth look like Mother Teresa) does tend to go on, the author counters with plenty of rousing scenes on wild seas and windy moors. Woven throughout are streams of prophetic visions capped by climactic encounters with Odin and his Wild Hunt. By the end, Malcolm has outgrown his petulance and naïveté, broadened his initially parochial Christian outlook and seen Harald on his way to a long and relatively peaceful reign. Fantasy elements aside, this saga is reminiscent of a Rosemary Sutcliff novel in plot, themes, cast and overall tone. (Historical fantasy. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897476628
  • Publisher: Simply Read Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 454
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia Heinrichs was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba but grew up in Vancouver, BC, where she has lived most of her life. She majored in psychology at UBC where she earned a Bachelor’s degree and discovered a love of history. She has worked as a nanny, an art restoration assistant, an English teacher in South Korea and a writing tutor, but her favorite jobs are aunt, vagabond, and writer.

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