From a Foreign Shore: Stories of History and Alternate History Kindle Edition
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- File size : 2059 KB
- Publication date : September 8, 2014
- Publisher : Andrew Knighton (September 8, 2014)
- Print length : 38 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00N57TQGY
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,448 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I didn't feel any sense of forced authenticity in the passages, as if maybe some historical (verified or assumed by historians) detail might be "iffy." Or imposed onto the story.
The stories themselves flowed smoothly. Still not my favorite type of work, but enjoyable.
What I was surprised about, and will draw me to explore other areas of the writer's work is, the clean clarity of narrative. There's no sense of stumbling, or an ambiguity of intention.
Here's an excerpt, from one of the shorter pieces (Fairwell to a Foreign Shore) :
"Beneath him the longship strained at its moorings, yearning to be free. It was as old as he was, timbers creaking with tension as the sail filled, a westerly wind luring them out to sea."
Lots of commas, yet everything flows. Fits. I liked it.
Also, it’s one of those “I know something you don’t know!” kind of stories, which can be just delicious if done properly. It really had me invested in the character and wanting Thorvald to figure things out before it was too late. (And DOES he??? Well, gee, I promised no spoilers. Sorry, guys…)
Sometimes it’s tempting to rely too heavily on that one element, but the story also had some really neat subplots and supporting characters. There was a theme of mirrors and ‘other versions of oneself’ that I just died over because it was used so well! And finally the last line… I am such a sucker for stories with last lines that really punch you in the face, and this one totally did.
I won’t go into the other stories, but I thought the collection worked really well together. They touched on a variety of topics / time periods, and I found the variety of lengths strangely refreshing. There are even a couple of flash pieces in there, which were particularly yummy.
Top reviews from other countries
This collection contains five short stories:
‘Holy Water’: a grief-stricken noble orders his servant to execute the statue that crushed his wife to death.
‘Farewell to a Foreign Shore’: a Norseman muses on his first raid as he sets sail from the same shore.
‘Odin’s Mirror’: after years of fighting against the end of his way of life, a jarl accepts that the gods have truly settled among the Norse.
‘From the Sea’: a messenger struggles to reach Athens through a land filled with portents and creatures.
‘Sir Cai, the Shining Knight’: a knight perfect and gentle arrives at the Court of Arthur. His every act adds to his reputation, but what secret lies behind his refusal to remove his armour?
While Knighton’s voice is both consistent throughout the book and fully accessible to modern readers, each story is filled with little touches of character and period tone. As such these feel like five unique narratives told by a person of the time.
This mix of common frames of reference and specific details is similarly present in the events and background descriptions, creating a strong sense of realism without forcing readers who are not experts on that area of history struggling for context or meaning.
Where Knighton does deviate from this foundation of history, he does so with restraint, choosing to make one change from the real world and expand the consequences out. The more speculative stories therefore retain both the accessibility and sense of being a segment of an ongoing world, rather than relying on the sheer fact of difference for their interest. In addition to making it easy for the reader to find their footing in the world, this avoids the stuttering from one thing to another that some short stories can suffer from.
This choice to focus in detail on part of a greater world might also result in some readers feeling unsatisfied: some stories – while forming complete arcs – are brief. As such, this book might serve better as a diversion than an extended distraction.
Overall, I enjoyed this collection. I recommend it to readers seeking a stories with a strong sense of history who also enjoy the occasional speculative fancy.
An immensely pleasurable read that I can heartily recommend!