|The King's Hounds by Martin Jensen|
This book was not fun, it actually was about nothing.
The characters didn't interest me, the writing was clunky and the translation was not good.
There is so much going on in this period. And yet, to me, the author failed to latch on and ride it into a great story.
In theory, the setting should be a colourful one and had all the potential to float this story like a bobbing buoy on a surging sea.
It is Britain, 1018. Cnut has conquered parts of England, cultures are clashing, uprisings are plentiful, the slave trade is about to go into overdrive. Settlements are popping up overnight. But, this book captured none of that to me. If it weren't for the words Vikings and Saxons being thrown around, it could have been devoid of ethnicity and could have been any European country before the Late Middle Ages.
I found the main character, Halfdan, so incredibly annoying and two dimensional and I found his support character, Winston, a poorly forged copy of historical mystery solvers who are already done to perfection in this genre, ie Matthew Shardlake from the C.J. Sansom series. In fact there were a lot of similarities between Winston/Halfdan and Matthew Shardlake/Jack Barak. At times it felt nearly plagiarised, but all it was, was a bad copy.
The translation I think was the story killer here for me. It was a terrible translation. It had been translated too literally and with modern words used frequently. A translator with a better understanding of what is required of an historical fiction translator, may have done a better job. Who knows.
I wish I was fluent in Danish, so that I could read the original to see whether this book was massacred at the hands of the translator more so than the author. I suspect the translation is to blame for a lot of the grievances I have towards this book.
I thought about giving it 3 stars, because there were some chapters that I enjoyed. In hindsight, now I have put some distance between me and this read, I realise those enjoyable parts did not in fact outweigh the overall negative feelings I have towards this book.