Orphaned as a child by a blood-feud, and sold as a slave to an exiled chieftain in Ireland, the boy Hasting had little hope of surviving to adulthood. The gods had other plans. A ship arrived at his master’s longphort carrying a man who would alter the course of his destiny, and take him under his wing to teach him the ways of the Vikings. His is a story of a boy who was a slave, who became a warlord, and who helped topple an empire.
A supposed son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and referred to in the Gesta Normannorum as the Scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life exemplified the qualities of the ideal Viking. Join author and historian C.J. Adrien on an adventure that explores the coming of age of the Viking Hasting, his first love, his first great trials, and his first betrayal.
It all started with a little old woman buying fish from me at the local seafood market on the island of Noirmoutier in France. I was 17. She saw my blue eyes, blond hair, and my last name (well known in the region) and took to calling me “The Viking.” I reported the odd occurrence to my grandparents, who sat me down.
“You should speak with your great-aunt Nadette,” I remember them saying.
The next day, I walked two peaceable village blocks to her house for afternoon coffee (and cookies), admiring the flowering greeneries that hung over the white limestone walls of the neighbors’ properties. Arrived at her home, Nadette and I launched a discussion about the local myth that our family, with our bright blue eyes, light hair, and even a redhead or two sprinkled into the generations, may have descended from Viking colonizers from the 9th century. So the song Auprès de ma Blonde—a song from the island—tells, the island has people of a look apart from the greater region surrounding it.
Nadette next opened a large genealogy book. She had worked her whole life as a history teacher and done extensive work on the family’s history. “I traced our family name back to the 1600s,” she explained. “It’s not proof we are descended from Vikings, but at least we know population movements were not significant from the island to the mainland from the time of the Vikings to the 1600s, so there’s a possibility.”
I lived with the idea for the next two years until I switched my major to history with the intent to study the kernel of truth behind the myth and to find out for myself what had really happened in Noirmoutier during the Viking Age. In 2009, I put together a research proposal for a doctoral program specifically regarding the history of the Vikings in Noirmoutier, which was tentatively accepted by my university to begin a doctoral program. Due to budget shortfalls from the Great Recession, the university cut the humanities department by 40%, including my program.
I worked as a school teacher at the secondary level for the next few years and returned to France every year to visit my family. As luck would have it, my grandfather served as the president of the local historical association, Les Amis de Noirmoutier, who opened up all of their resources to me to conduct my research. Initially, I had thought to write a history book. On the recommendation of one of the association’s members (a dual p.h.D. in France and the U.S.), I decided to keep my research to myself until enrolling in another doctoral program. In the interim, the association published some of my research to build interest in the subject. I wrote a series of novels with an actual historical figure as its protagonist.
In 2019, I gave a lecture in front of three hundred local “Noirmoutrins” about my research on behalf of the association Les Amis de Noirmoutier. At the end of the talk, I sat at a table to sign books, and the little old woman from the fish market, now older and frailer, approached me with her daughter helping her.
“You see, I was right,” she smiled.
The Lords of the Wind (Book 1) – https://books2read.com/u/mgE797
In the Shadow of the Beast (Book 2) – https://books2read.com/u/bPQg67
The Kings of the Sea (Book 3) – https://books2read.com/u/b5ol2w
Meet C.J. Adrien
C.J. Adrien is a bestselling and award-winning author of Viking historical fiction novels with a passion for Viking history. His Saga of Hasting the Avenger series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell. He is also a published historian on the subject of Vikings, with articles featured in historical journals such as L’Associationdes Amis de Noirmoutier, in France. His novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), conferences on Viking history in France, among others.
Connect with C.J.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C-J-Adrien/e/B00EWTIVH4