Axe of Iron: An exciting new series about Vikings

J.A. Hunsinger is the author of the Axe of Iron series.

J.A. Hunsinger is the author of the Axe of Iron series.

By Christy Olsen Field
Norwegian American Weekly

As a pilot turned author, J.A. Hunsinger presents his first book titled “Axe of Iron: The Settlers” in his historical fiction series about the first Viking settlements in Greenland.  No one knows for sure why the Viking settlements completely disappeared around the mid-15th century, but Hunsinger fills in the blanks by weaving together historical facts and fiction to create a probable answer for their disappearance in his five part series “Axe of Iron.”  Hunsinger’s theory about Greenland’s Viking settlements?  The Vikings assimilated with the native Thule (pronounced “tool-ee”) people of Greenland for survival.  The “Axe of Iron” series is a culmination of over 20+ years of research for Hunsinger, and he is proud to present his first installment in this series.

In “Axe of Iron: The Settlers,” Hunsinger sets up the framework for the series: a large assembly of medieval Norsemen left the security of their homeland in the spirit of adventure and exploration to North America to establish a settlement called Vinland.  Chieftain Halfdan Ingolfsson and his second in command Gudbjartur Einarsson spend a winter to recruit a group of men, women, and children to venture deeper into uncharted territory in the spring of A.D. 1008, only to be caught in a vicious gale in the strait between Helluland and Markland (present day Hudson Strait).  It is a story of survival and strife, love and a quest for a new home—based on a lifetime of historical research.

Educated in parochial schools, Hunsinger was first introduced to Norse mythology in the classroom.  His interest was sparked as a young student, and Hunsinger has turned it into a lifelong passion for Norsemen, becoming an expert on the mores and customs of the people from the North.

Even though this is his first novel, Hunsinger is not new to writing.  As a pilot for much of his adult life, Hunsinger wrote stories as he traveled around the world, and eventually became an engineering technical writer for Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group in Phoenix, Arizona.  He authored two comprehensive pilots’ manuals, and several supplemental aircraft radar manuals.  He notes that writing a novel is quite different than writing a pilot’s manual—Hunsinger had to learn the art of dialogue to bring his characters to life.

"Axe of Iron: The Settlers" is the first of the Axe of Iron series.

"Axe of Iron: The Settlers" is the first of the Axe of Iron series.

Hunsinger writes with authority and expertise in his field to create a historically accurate framework for his series.  To do his research, Hunsinger has built an extensive library over the years by purchasing every Viking book he could get his hands on, as well as research papers written by archeologists.  According to Hunsinger, he doesn’t just read books—he devours them.  Thanks to the information available world wide web, Hunsinger supplements his printed materials by researching on the internet.  All names in his series are authentic—representing an actual person, whether a Viking or a native Greenlander.

To get a visual perspective on the land of the Vikings, Hunsinger also travels to the Nordic countries with his wife Phyllis.  Visiting Vikingskiphuset in Oslo this summer was “a religious experience” for Hunsinger. Hunsinger is not Norwegian himself (he is half Swedish and half German), but loves Norway and all of Scandinavia.  Hunsinger plans to return to Norway in the near future, and hopes to visit the Lofoton Islands.

Hunsinger shares his lifelong enthusiasm for Vikings in this exciting and adventurous series.  “Axe of Iron: The Settlers” has received excellent reviews across the country.  His next book “Axe of Iron: Confrontation” will be published in the next few months.  For more information, visit Vinland Publishing at www.vinlandpublishing.com.  To purchase a copy of “Axe of Iron: The Settlers,” visit www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.

This article was originally published in the Norwegian American Weekly on September 26, 2008. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly, or to subscribe, call (800) 305-0217 or email naw@norway.com.

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