In honor of Leif Erikson Day today, which observes the Viking explorer’s achievement of being the first to bring over Europeans to North America (and also commemorates the first immigrants to come to the United States from Norway in 1825), I thought I’d bring your attention to Neil Gaiman‘s latest U.S. release Odd and the Frost Giants, a cute little tale inspired by traditional Norse mythology.
Right now, HarperCollins has posted the first chapter of the book online for free, so which I suggest you take advantage of that by checking out the widget here below.
The novel contains illustrations by Brett Helquist, best known for this artwork in the Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books. There’s also the Audio CD.
Both of these are going right on my Wish List for sure (for those of you wondering what I want for my upcoming birthday, there you go). I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this story since I heard about it early last year when Gaiman offered it up for World Book Day 2009 in the UK and Ireland. And I’ve been meaning to post about the book’s release in the U.S. for a few days now, but never got around to it. Me thinks today’s a more appropriate day for it anyhow.
Enjoy the first chapter for now!
In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.
In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he’s had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.
Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle””three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined””a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It’s going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.
Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . .
Someone just like Odd.