ivory vikings

Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them by Nancy Marie Brown 

I'm dropping in briefly, with regret that I don't have the ability right now to write a longer and more coherent review for this book. But it's a fascinating history and discussion and so I want to be sure to bring it to your attention. 

If you have ever been attracted to the Lewis chessmen (and who wouldn't? look at this berserker-knight's face!!), you may actually not find much in this study that is new to you. I've only bordered on a passing interest and yet I was mostly familiar with the theories and arguments presented here. 

But if you've an interest in lovely and enlivening art, archeological history, politics, Iceland, and history, you'll certainly enjoy Brown's discussion of these incredible pieces and their history.

I was most pleased with learning about Iceland and it's vibrant artistic and literary scene during the 13th century. I was in Iceland two years ago and am well aware of how heavily laden the country is with literature. I swooned over sculptures in the streets and architecture in Reykjavik. I'm gratified to learn that such a paradise today is bolstered by centuries of history of these arts.  

If you are interested in Ivory Vikings, it may be because you've seen some of them somewhere like the British Museum (that's where my interest began) and thus may already have some knowledge of their history. But the greater value of Ivory, to me, is their context in the world and history (and if the images above or the subject altogether is brand new to you, then you have even further cause to be fascinated!) 

*St. Martin's Press provided an advanced reader's copy. The publication date for this book is September 1, 2015.