30 April 2010

Axe of Iron: Confrontation Review

Historical Novels

Title: Confrontation: An Axe of Iron Novel

Author: J. A. Hunsinger

Rating: Excellent!

Publisher: Vinland Publishing

Web Page: www.vinlandpublishing.com

Reviewed by: Eric Jones, http://www.bookreview.com/

Too little is written about the Norse travelers of the early 1000's who made their way from Greenland through North America, of whom the famous Leif Ericson was a part. It is an important, and often overlooked, chapter of history that came several centuries prior to the colonization by Europeans. In his "Axe of Iron" novels, J.A. Hunsinger draws both parallels and divergences of the Norse colonization of Vinland (in what is now Canada) in a profound demonstration of excruciating hardships, fierce war, and the sanctity of love.

"Confrontation" falls into the second slot in Hunsinger's epic saga of the "Northmen" which follows Halfdan and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur, as they discover that the land they've traveled to is inhabited by, not one, but an expansive network of different cultures, some of which are not as welcoming as others. As they work diligently to establish friendly relations with a group of natives known as the Naskapi, they inherit some of their bad blood, and make a few new enemies as well.

While the terms tend to thicken with tribal names like the Anishinabe and the Haudeno, it is well worth understanding the purpose of these names. If you simply gloss over them, you'll be ill-equiped to see and understand the world that Hunsinger indelibly encapsulates in the adventures of his protagonists. In keeping with its "Axe of Iron" title, "Confrontation" is full of meticulously orchestrated war scenes that present us with the danger and excitement that historical novels can provide in place of simple researched nonfiction. But Hunsinger is quick to balance this with moments of human understanding between the Northmen and the natives.

This duality is most fleshed out in Gudbjartur's acceptance by the Naskapi for his skills with an axe. In a sense, it is war that draws the two people together, as the Naskapi are clearly intrigued by the Northmen's skill with weaponry and seek to learn to defend themselves from the Haudeno. Similarly, the Northmen are in needing of the Naskapi's knowledge of the land. And in the end, the two are able to achieve a relative peace through mutual benefit. It is not in just bloody confrontation that Hunsinger is interested in, but in a larger scale of inner and outer human conflict that makes the tale rife with historic intrigue and a larger ideological fable.

Much of the enjoyment of Hunsinger's novel comes from watching how the Northmen and the natives live. Exhaustive research has been done to present a clear and accurate picture of these early explorers, and vivid pictures are painted of the tools they used, and how they used them, and how they developed as they traveled. It is important to note that while the conflicts in "Confrontation" are new and mostly self contained, this is only the second part in a multipart serial epic that requires at least a rudimentary understanding of what happened before it and what is likely to come. Luckily for us, Hunsinger has covered both of those bases by including brief looks at the previous chapter in the series, and in the upcoming book "Assimilation". He addresses terms and phrases in a glossary as well, equipping new readers to understand the world of the Vikings as they make their way across Vinland. It is an engaging and invigorating glance at some of the toughest men in the world, and how they came to infamy for their exploits.

24 April 2010

Climate Change Article--The Shetland News

I love climate change articles, especially when reason flies in the face of the the profit potential of the global warming hoax, and mentions the medieval warm period when the Vikings settled Greenland. Several excellent graphs accompanying the article did not paste into Blogger, but they are available by clicking on the title link to see the entire article as it appeared in The Shetland News today, or click the imbedded links within the article as you read. Your choice!

The Shetland News

24 April, 2010

Professor Glover (‘Response from Professor Ann Glover,’ SN 17/4/10) introduces a new version of the “hockey stick” global temperature graph from the Met Office, whose Hadley Centre supplies temperature data to Phil Jones’ “Climategate” CRU at University of East Anglia, where it is processed and sent to IPCC.

The Hadley Centre has been accused by Russian scientists of selecting thermometer sites so that cold sites have been dropped in favour of warmer areas. There are, apparently, no thermometers in Siberia, but plenty in the south, in cities and at airports.

This has been going on in America too, where the total number of thermometers has been reduced by 75 per cent and the period of fastest falling thermometer numbers just happens to coincide with the period of fastest rising global temperatures. See below -
Source: Prof Ross McKittrick, http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/nvst.html

When, around 1995, they ran out of thermometers to deselect, lo and behold, barring the El Nino record peak in 1998, the warming stopped – what a surprise!

Even after all the shenanigans, Prof Glover’s graph shows only 0.5 degC of rise in 50 years, ie. one degree in the next hundred years, if warming continues at that rate. However “there has been no significant warming since 1995”(Phil Jones at the UK Parliament).

So why all the fuss? Scary predictions of a 4-6 degC rise by 2100. Warming will have to get a move on, though, it has been stuck for 15 years and there are only 90 years to go!

The handle of Prof Glover’s new hockey stick graph is shorter by about 850 years than the notorious one produced by Michael Mann and featured in Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth to “prove the recent warming period was the warmest in 1,000 years.”

In fact, the hockey stick has been shown to be a statistical creation by Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre (see below) and it is now discredited.
Source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/15/hockey-stick-graph-was-exaggerated-mcintyre-gets-props/

That’s why Prof Glover’s hockey stick graph has a short handle, to avoid the embarrassment of the medieval warming period when Vikings cultivated Greenland.

The Duke of Wellington is reputed to have said after Waterloo, “they just kept coming in the same old way.” And so do the global warmers. Even in her sanitised clarification, Prof Glover just couldn’t resist inserting a carefully worded scare:

“I did comment that the Greenland ice sheet holds the equivalent of approximately 6m average global sea level rise and that current uncertainty around climate change does not provide us with information on what average global temperature rise would trigger irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet.”

So what temperature rise would trigger “irreversible melting” and what is the likelihood?

In fact, the Arctic has been far warmer in the past than it is now or is likely to become in the foreseeable future, like when alligators roamed Spitsbergen (75+ deg North).

“At Strathcona Fiord, the fossil record shows that those Eocene forests were inhabited by alligators, giant tortoises, primates, tapirs, and the hippo-like Coryphodon. There have been over 40 papers published on the Eocene fossils of Strathcona Fiord alone. There was no permanent polar ice, and large parts of the polar regions were covered by forests dominated by cypresses and angiosperms. Fossilized remnants of these forests are found in locations such as Spitsbergen, Greenland, the Yukon, northeastern Asia, and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.”
Source: Dr Ann Jefferson: http://hydrogeo.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/coal-the-high-arctic-and-the-fossil-record-of-climate-change/

So there likely wasn’t very much ice in Greenland then-a-days, yet it returned to where it is now, 10,000ft of icecap. Irreversible melting, seems a bit far-fetched to me?

A fundamental requirement of science is that you use your theory to make predictions which can be checked by observation to assess its validity. Tiresome for the “doomsters” is that, year after year, their predictions are confounded.

Red: Global Air Temp Anomaly (deg Celsius) Black: Atmospheric CO2 Concentration (ppmv)
Source: Presentation to US Congressional staff briefing, April 13, 2010, by Dr W. Soon http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/soon_carbon_myopia_talk.pdf

The graph shows a clear downward trend in temperature since 1998, however, the UK Met Office, again, predicts that 2010 will be the warmest year ever, let’s wait and see.

John Tulloch

19 April 2010

Confrontation: US Review of Books

by J.A. Hunsinger

Vinland Publishing

Reviewed by Karolina Blaha-Black

"I want to know how to use this axe. And I want to know how to fight like him."

The words above describe the awe felt by the Naskapi Indians of Vinland (North America) when they discovered that there are new people, the Norse, inhabiting their land, with their strange customs and ways. Confrontation is book two in the Axe of Iron series, about the migration of the Norse people to Vinland, the coexistence with the native Indians, and the slow assimilation of the two nations.

The book is a gripping read and a rip-roaring adventure, starting with a bang of a beginning when the chieftain of the Norse settlement, Halfdan, and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur, take three of the young boys from the settlement moose hunting. One of the boys is killed in the hunt by an enraged bull moose and thus starts the meticulously-researched journey that takes the reader into the midst of Halfdansfjord, the Norse village of which Halfdan is a chieftain. The reader also bears witness to the many encounters with the Haudenosaunee and Naskapi Indians, predecessors of the Iroquois and the Cree, respectively.

The adventure peaks when Ivar, son of Gudbjartur, gets captured by Haudenosaunee warriors when he goes out with several men on a peaceful mission of exploration. Later on, on a similar mission, Gudbjartur himself gets captured by a different Naskapi band, but they give him a chance to live and learn their ways and customs. Gudbjartur makes a name for himself when he defends the Naskapi village of his captors from the Haudenosaunee, their enemies. For this courageous act he receives an honorable name among the Naskapi people--Nipishish, the Axeman.

The book ends with the village of Halfdansfjord successfully defending an attack on the settlement from the Anishinabeg Indians, who remain hostile and do not want the pale skins in their land. Whether the Norsemen prevail remains to be seen in the next book, Assimilation.

The author included a glossary of Indian as well as Norse terms which help not only with the pronunciation, but also with some of the customs that the Indians and the Norse follow. The author's unique voice and viewpoint enhances this rollicking historical adventure novel, which is bound to please young and old alike. Highly recommended.

The US Review of Books

PO Box 11, Titusville, NJ 08560


02 April 2010

Axe of Iron: Confrontation Review

Historical Fiction

Axe of Iron: Confrontation

J. A. Hunsinger


Vinland Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9801601-5-4

Pages: 311

Axe of Iron: Confrontation is the second installment in author J. A. Hunsinger’s fictional series about the migration of the Norse of Greenland to North America. In the new book, Hunsinger adds depth to the characters, including their leader Halfdan and his lieutenant Gudbjartur, introduced in The Settlers. He broadens the reader’s knowledge of how the Northmen may have survived as they built their lives in a new world. As in the first book, the author’s writing is vivid and rife with details of his research and extraordinary imagination.

Three tragic incidents set the tone for this book. The story opens with a hunting trip led by Halfdan and Gudbjartur. Gudbjartur’s sons, Ivar and Lothar, and their friend Yola accompany the men on what was to be a rite of passage. One member of the hunting party meets a violent end in the middle of the hunt. During a scouting trip to explore an area outside of their settlement and to develop trading relationships with the native people, Gudbjartur is captured. In a separate expedition that includes Gudbjartur’s sons, a group of natives called the Haudeno, stalk and subsequently attack the Northmen.

These events dramatically impact the lives of the Northmen, making them more aware of their vulnerability in this strange land that they have adopted. While the group desires to live in peace, they do not hesitate to protect themselves when necessary.

Hunsinger has done an amazing job of fleshing out these characters. The previous book focused a great deal on the Northmen’s daily living practices and values. The new book illustrates the many dimensions of the people. Gudbjartur’s personality, for example, is fully explored. The author highlights the lieutenant’s skill and acumen as a warrior while also displaying his effectiveness as a father (which is apparent in the bravery and self-control that his eldest son exhibits) and his gentleness with the native people he comes to live with after his capture.

This is an exciting book, the kind that makes you cling to each word and hold your breath when something you saw coming actually happens even as you shake your head in disbelief. The world of the Northmen is dangerous and the possibility of violence is constant. Hunsinger doesn’t spare the reader any details. This makes the loss of a character due to a fight or abduction even more difficult to accept. The ability to pull the reader into the story and create characters that are cheered and mourned for is the mark of a great writer.

Axe of Iron: Confrontation is a remarkable book that will have readers longing for the third installment. I highly recommend it.

Melissa Levine


Independent Professional Book Reviewers