A Travel Saga
About the Book
Bill Arnott guides readers on an epic literary odyssey following history’s most feared and misunderstood voyageurs: the Vikings!
To “go Viking” is to embark on an epic journey. For more than eight years, Bill Arnott journeyed throughout the northern hemisphere, discovering sites Scandinavian explorers raided, traded, and settled – finding Viking history in a wider swath of the planet than most anthropologists and historians ever imagined.
With a small pack and weatherproof journal, Bill explores and writes with a journalist’s eye, songwriter’s prose, poet’s perspective, and a comedian’s take on everything else. Prepare yourself for an armchair adventure like no other!
From Europe to Asia, the Mediterranean to the British Isles, through Scandinavia to Iceland, Greenland, and the New World, with further excursions around Thor Heyerdahl’s Pacific, Roald Amundsen’s Arctic, and Olaf Crowbone’s stormy North Atlantic, Bill takes readers on a mythic personal adventure in real time – a present-day Viking quest.
“An extremely well-documented travelogue with beautiful imagery.” —The Ottawa Review of Books
“This is definitely one of the best reads of the year.” – Candice James, Laureate Emerita, Silver Bow Press
“Fasten your seatbelts. Gone Viking has a glorious romp in store for you.” – P. W. Bridgman, author of A Lamb
“A fascinating travelogue! Bill Arnott’s lyrical language, informative and funny anecdotes take the reader on an unforgettable journey.” – Annette LeBox, award-winning author of Peace is an Offering
“A fantastic read!” – Michael Seidelman, author of The Garden of Syn Trilogy
“This is a writer who engages and entertains at every point along the way.” – Adrienne Drobnies, author of Salt and Ash
“A delight to read.” – Gray Lightfoot, author of A View from a Cab and the Humphrey Boggart mysteries
“This is definitely one of the best reads of the year. Gone Viking: A Travel Saga is extremely entertaining, vibrant, and filled with vivid imagery you see and hear. Historical images weave in and out of the pages as the reader travels with Bill Arnott, the ‘Anthony Bourdain’ of these pages. Arnott has the knack, with his finely honed writing skills, to make you feel like you are right there with him, travelling the same path. A peppering of songs and references to movies bring the places visited into a more tangible feel as we move through these splendid images and pages.” —Candice James, Poet Laureate Emerita and author of Rithimus Aeternam
“In Gone Viking, Bill Arnott inspires intrepid adventurers and armchair travellers alike. Setting out to explore the reach and influence of the ancient Vikings, Arnott uncovers the essence of adventure that is at the heart of every great quest, which is a sense of discovery, felt viscerally.” —Jamey Glasnovic, author of Lost and Found and A Few Feet Short
“With humour and keen observation, Arnott takes us from one windswept landscape to the next. Gone Viking makes me want to lace up my boots and follow along in the footsteps of the author.” —Jeremy Kroeker, author of Through Dust and Darkness: A Motorcycle Journey of Fear and Faith in the Middle East
“Gone Viking: A Travel Saga is a fascinating travelogue! Bill Arnott’s lyrical language and informative, funny anecdotes take the reader on an unforgettable journey from the UK to the Arctic, framed through the lens of a modern Viking adventurer.” —Annette LeBox, award-winning author of Peace is an Offering
“Fasten your seatbelts, readers. Bill Arnott’s Gone Viking: A Travel Saga has a glorious romp in store for you. Arnott is a seasoned, observant and insightful traveller. Gone Viking is a deeply, warmly human account of delightful peregrinations. You will enjoy it in the settled comfort of your armchair. But if you’re outward bound – to the UK, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia (of course) or even to Haida Gwaii – bring a copy along. It will teach you things; but more than that, it will make for wonderful company.” —P.W. Bridgman, author of A Lamb: Poems
“Gone Viking: A Travel Saga is a laugh-out-loud voyage for the armchair traveller. If you’re dreaming of an eccentric Scandinavian journey, or the delights of the seascapes near Haida Gwaii or British coastal paths, this seated flight is for you. What makes it memorable are the witty anecdotes the author intersperses, worthy of stealing and retelling at boring parties as your own.” —Mala Rai, award-winning poet
“The writing in Gone Viking: A Travel Saga is a sensory delight, a stunning portrayal of unique experiences that gets right inside the reader. A hero’s journey for the 21st century, Gone Viking will be on my reading list again and again.” —Cynthia Sharp, award-winning poet and author of How to Write Poetry
“Gone Viking is entertaining and funny. It’s no wonder it was a finalist for the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Bill Arnott has a natural gift of storytelling as epic and entertaining as the original Viking sagas. The narrative is infused with authentic voice and wonderful humour, layered with the echoes of other voices. Arnott compels the reader to join him in this must-read quest.” —Kerry Gilbert, award-winning author of Little Red and Tight Wire
“A rollercoaster journey of fun and adventure. Storytelling at its best. Bill Arnott’s Gone Viking: A Travel Saga feels like he is having a casual conversation with the reader, not as author/teacher and reader/student, but rather as fellow explorers experiencing these adventures together. A difficult thing to achieve and he gets it just right.” —George Dow, multimedia artist and writer
“Arnott, like all accomplished Vikings, is a moving target who makes landfall in a place and meticulously pillages all the best bits to bring back home to his book – and to you the reader. This smorgasbord of images and recollections is a joy to absorb. You’ll find yourself travelling through a range of emotions as one minute you’re marvelling at the beauty of his writing, the poetic images, and the next you find yourself chortling at some funny, often wicked, observation. Not many books achieve this. Gone Viking certainly does.” —Gray Lightfoot, author of A View From A Cab and the ‘Humphrey Boggart’ novels The Malthouse Falcon and Bigg’s Leap
“I thoroughly enjoyed Gone Viking. Bill Arnott explores the history of Viking culture through travels to the United Kingdom, Iceland, Greenland, northern Europe, Canada’s west coast, and the Mediterranean. I love the prose, eloquent and descriptive, with humour thrown in. As a lover of travel writing, I look to get lost in the stories. Arnott accomplishes this in spades! I highly recommend this read for lovers of travel writing and history.” —Stephen Karr, poet
“In Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Bill Arnott takes you from British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii to Turkey’s Ephesus and a whole lot of locations in between. After the first couple of paragraphs of this book, I resented having to lay it aside to do alternative activities – like eating and sleeping. I began marking sentences, sometimes whole paragraphs, that inspired literary envy regarding his writing style: ‘A new day, birdless grey sky pinched into folds like a rain-soaked blanket. Brixham harbour’s a rocking pincushion of masts.’ This should give you the idea that you MUST have this book.” —Robert Ramsay, writer
“More than illuminating the Vikings themselves, what Arnott achieves in Gone Viking: A Travel Saga is a wide-ranging meditation on people, the landscapes they inhabit, and the sea. Told in Arnott’s quirky and frequently hilarious style, Gone Viking ranges across huge swaths of geography. The book features places like Iceland, Tuscany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and all around the UK from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands. All these locales come to life in Arnott’s thoughtful, funny and warm-hearted writing.” —Mark MacKenzie, mariner and poet