What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD?
That question was an itch that I have kept scratching for many decades. Sailing across the Atlantic, albeit on an ocean liner, and arriving in America by sea, made it one I had to resolve.
NaNoWriMo gave me the perfect opportunity, and a short story called ‘Eagle Muse’ became the starting point for a novel called Eagle Crossing. In fact, ‘Eagle Muse’ was dis-assembled to become the components in scenes from an early chapter to the ending.
So, what, you ask impatiently, is the book’s connection to the Vikings?
Well, the lead character, Torill Migisi is descended from the shamaness that helped persuade Leif Eriksson to stay and work with the indigenous people – a thousand plus years earlier. Yes, this is alternative history, set in a world that is still in the Viking Age.
It’s 2020 AD, and the Migisi family have an international shipping business, but using airships – yes there are steampunk echoes as well. But these airships are high-tech, sleek and fast – but not as fast as the jet that Torill’s brother salvaged from the depths of Lake Gichigami. Yes, the Big-sea-water in The Song of Hiawatha which we know as Lake Superior.
The indigenous people have equal, if not a higher status on this continent, so many places and people have native names. For instance, Stadacona is the capital of this confederation, and Migisi is a Chippewa name meaning ‘Eagle.’. Is any of this a clue to where Kanata is? I hope that you all said Canada, especially as that originated from a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word, ‘kanata’ meaning village or settlement. All you Canadians reading this knew that of course.
So what’s a jet doing in a world of airships? That’s the question that drives Torill’s quest to save the Migisi business because the jet has the white star markings of the Dixie States, the Southern neighbor of Kanata, with their capital at Charlotte. Hey, what happened to Washington? Did the British burn it down again? Not quite, but the Dixies lost it in a border dispute with Kanata, and Britain has been a Viking nation and Kanata ally since 1040.
Hey, what happened to Washington? Did the British burn it down again? Not quite, but the Dixies lost it in a border dispute with Kanata, and Britain has been a Viking nation and Kanata ally since 1040.
However, the major concern is the continent-wide Arms Ban. Someone must be using the star-marked jet to stir up another war with the Iberoamérica Coalition. But who? Is the answer in the past? Kanatian forces did help the Texians defeat the Mexicans at the Alamo, but Migisi involvement in the under-hand events of 2020 implicates Kanata. Can Torill prevent the continental war that the three nations have avoided for a thousand years?
Don’t panic, the book’s blurb is shorter than the above. I’m just giving you a tour of the developing world. The novel has two plotlines: 1) Torill’s quest to prevent a continental war that would cost lives and bring the end of a rich legacy; 2) the historical development of this Viking Age and the Migisi family’s role down the ages.
I track this evolution through flashback chapters like ‘1759- Stadacona’ when on 13 September, the French attempt to seize the Kanata capital – a rewrite of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, outside the walls of Quebec City. The Alamo is there, along with Columbus’s arrival in the Bahamas – 492 years too late.
There are more flashbacks, in America and back in Europe where Vikings were an influential force in our timeline. With Kanata behind them, these warrior-traders can change European history. So watch out Napoleon, and forget about the World Wars – unless that jet with the stars causes one.
Where can these Vikings come unstuck? Is this world possible? Do you want to live in the Kanata Samtök?
It sounds so excitng, Roland! I love alternate history… though I’d never be able to wirte it 😉
And you know? I’d say the Viking were indeed an influential foce in Europe at a certain point, though we seldom realise it. I’m very curious to see where you’ll go with this 🙂
Thanks, Sarah. A historical takes a lot of research, and so does an alternative. A daunting project.
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As a Canadian who has Viking heritage, I really need to read this book now. Like right now.
Thanks Dianna, how do the Vikings have a claim on you? The book needs a fair bit of researching, so I hope you can wait.
What an interesting premise! Being of Scandinavian descent, my husband is quite interested in Viking history. I’ll have to ask him what he think would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently. I’ll be curious on his take of what could have happened in that alternative timeline.
Thanks, Ellen. I’d be fascinated to know your husband’s take on what could have happened. I have also worked other key events into my timeline: (a) ones involving other European settlers in America, like the Spaniards and French; (b) events in Scandinavia and Europe, such as continuation of Danish/Viking rule in England making the Norman Conquest less likely. (Email thoughts – rrclarke53 AT gmail DOT com)
I think History keeps hitting changing points.
I remember years ago when I read my first alternative story, it was about Nixon winning the election and serving 2 terms. It was hilarious and sure to be a best seller. Don’t know what happened, never heard a thing about it being published.
Maybe it got published in another timeline where the readers had good taste 😉 . Not sure that much alternative history gets published.
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