The Viking Cats – I sat down and sketched out the chapters and the progression I had been working on in my mind for my novel.
Below are the Chapter titles.
The book will primarily be targeted at young boys, let’s say 7 to 13 or so. It will be somewhere between 120 to 140 pages long (my initial estimate), maybe longer.
The story is a mix of literary, historical, spiritual, and real life (for me) influences combined in a single story that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.
In general format it will be similar to the White Stag, one of my very favorite children’s books of all time. But instead of Attila the Hun (and later Chieftain and King of the Huns) being led by a White Stag (overland) into the West the character Hale (a very common boy of no great background who nevertheless rises by merit and courage to become a great explorer and man) will be led by a series of Signs and Wonders and Adventures in which it will be difficult to tell the natural and mundane from the supernatural and the miraculous.
In this way it will parallel the Biblical story of the Exodus.
It will also show, throughout the progression of the story the influences of Nordic, Greek, Roman, and finally Judeo-Christian culture and religion upon Hale’s development, and by extension how these Four Strains of Culture and Religion interweave, like threads of a tapestry, to create a Western Man. So the book will obviously be filled throughout with important cultural, historical linguistic, literary, and religious allusions.
It will also describe the boy’s life, from his birth to age 28-29, when he disappears from the story by sailing into the Far West with his surviving clan, friends, and animal companions.
So it is additionally the story of a boy’s growth into manhood.
Each chapter will begin with a section of a fairly long poem called, “The Viking Cats.” The verse tale will ostensibly be about Hale’s adventures with his Viking Cats as explained by the Prose sections of the story.
But the poem will really be a Riddle in verse about the Four Strains of Culture and Religion shaping Western Man, how a boy actually grows into a man, the supernatural influence of God and miracles upon the development of a kid’s soul and his Wyrd, and what attributes (such as self-sacrifice and courage) and virtues (such as justice and mercy) a boy should practice to become a strong and true man.
At the end of the book, in the afterwards, will appear the entire Poem of “The Viking Cats” presented as a Skaldic Song.
My intention in writing the book is to give young children a good and exciting adventure story, to teach them about their culture, history, languages, and religious background, and to give young boys (especially young) a pattern-story for how to grow into a man, unifying both Secular Duties with Sacred Virtues to produce a True Western Man. I want to move very far away from the effeminized boy and man of modern culture and return to the better and older model of the Strong and Courageous and adventurous Boy and Man of the West who is nevertheless open to being tamed, to becoming a gentleman, and eventually Christianized without the loss of his essential manhood. That is I want to portray Hale as all boy becoming all man while nevertheless becoming Christianized and civilized without becoming weak and effeminate (as our modern culture stresses far too much). I’ve been wanting to do this kind of book, as well as feeling it is essential and necessary in America to have such books for young boys to read, for a very long time. Now, I feel, is a good time to write this.
I do not want to come right out and say these things in the story, not pedantically of course, but if the story implies these things and children pick up on this, then I will have achieved my True Aims. In others words I don’t want to preach these subjects, as I think boys don’t like that, instead I want to ‘adventurise and enterprise’ these subjects through exciting action tales that parallel tales of Romance and Chivalry, but not as tales of nobility but as everyman/everyboy tales that kids can emulate in their own lives.
I will be posting more on the Viking Cats later, along with some excerpts from the novel…
The White Cross Cloud
The Skald, the Würm, and the Wyrd
(birth to 7)
The Hound of Geatland
The Bear in Winter
The Southern Stars
(8 to 14)
The Spear that Shattered (The Hunter and the Boar’s Hide)
Hale and Well Met
(15 to 21)
The Burning of the Red Drake (The Man that Burned)
The Great Fortune of the Wondrous Sword (+Ulfberh+t)
The Eagle of the Lake Lady
(21 to 28)
The West Beyond
Afterwards: Song of the Boy – A Riddle in Verse