Trail of the Viking Finger by John Bean

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Matador; UK ed. edition (26 July 2016)
  • Language: English



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Set mainly in Yorkshire and Tyneside, this historical novel deals with the descendants of the Byrne family, whose founder was a Danish Viking – Bjorne the Red. Trail of the Viking Finger follows the lives of the Byrne family over a 900-year period, from 1066 onwards. In particular, John Bean is interested in the shared DNA of the family and comments on how several behavioural characteristics, often violent, move between each generation. Although the story is fictitious, Trail of the Viking Finger uses much of John’s own family tree as a basis to this story. John weaves the characters in and out of historical situations throughout the centuries as they deal with the ever-changing society, making it a fascinating, unusual read. In particular, John explores how the Brynes react to British social and political events throughout history including the post-Norman Conquest, the Black Death, the Peasants Revolt, The English Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and World War One. Whilst exploring the family politics of the Byrnes, John also mirrors some of his own life experiences in Trail of the Viking Finger, one of which includes the result of having an unsuccessful operation to cure Dupuytren’s Contracture – known as the ‘Viking Finger’. After the operation, John learns that his DNA was recognised as being of Anglo-Saxon or Danish Viking origin, something that has been descended from his ancestors. This book will appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction as well as those who are particularly interested in family trees. In addition, readers of Edward Rutherfurd’s historical novels may compare Trail of the Viking Finger to his works, not least his first, Sarum, with its 10,000 year storyline.