Book of the Week: Ripping Yarns from a Modern-Day Viking
Gillmore, Lucy, The Independent (London, England)
A Viking Voyage: In which an Unlikely Crew of Adventurers Attempts an Epic Journey
to the New World
by W Hodding Carter
(Ebury Press, pounds 9.99)
W Hodding Carter and his motley crew are not exactly Sir Ranulph Fiennes material. They have beer bellies and dodgy sideburns, and they fart a lot, but this doesn't stop them from jumping, frostbitten-feet-first, into a voyage from Greenland to North America.
Most of them have never sailed before, but they quickly learn that icebergs, polar bears and wet woollen underwear are just some of the hazards you encounter if you want to be a Viking.
W Hodding Carter has a compulsion to follow in the footsteps of famous explorers. "I crave to see just how brave, stoic, undaunted, or even insane our historical figures were... I put myself in their situation, get way over my head, and then attempt to survive."
This time his hero-worship extends to Viking explorer Leif Ericsson, and his route to "Vinland", the first Viking settlement in the New World. He decides to build a knarr (a Viking cargo ship), promptly finds a backer and sets off in search of a crew of would- be Vikings.
They are totally unlikely explorers and yet the voyage is most definitely epic - and herein lies the appeal. …