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Book Review: Undercurrent, by Michelle Griep

In this post Christian author Mark Fisher reviews Michelle Griep’s novel Undercurrent.

A Review of Michelle Griep’s Undercurrent

Novels of Christian historical fiction set in the Middle Ages are few and far between. I ordinarily don’t read historical romance, but this story has enough action, medieval setting, and just plain good writing to carry me through. In fact, I really enjoyed Undercurrent.

Undercurrent-coverChristian Historical Fiction With a Love Story?

In what category would we place this book? Historical romance? Fantasy? Christian historical fiction with a love story? Really, it’s all three. Griep drops us into the late tenth century Viking world via Cassie, a linguistics expert whose boyfriend has just made her solitary life complete by telling her it’s over. This is right before she boards the ferry where she’s guiding her group of undergrad students on a visit to England’s Farne Islands. On the passage, she listens as the captain, an old salt way too full of his own stories, warns the group at length with an ancient tale about maidens disappearing on the solstice. Then, what do you know? Cassie later finds herself sucked through a vortex to a place where time’s gone backward and there’s not a cell phone or indoor toilet to be had.

A Viking World

Meanwhile, Alarik is the tenth Century pagan Viking who wakes from a hangover beside his dead brother, killed with Alarik’s own knife. But he can’t remember anything that happened the night before. Ragnar is Alarik’s cousin, the lone Christian whose faith is as strong as his sword arm. Alarik flees in his ship, plucks Cassie from the sea, and so begins her adventure in an era so different from her own, she doesn’t realize at first where she is.

Conflicts Aplenty

What are the conflicts in this book? Cassie’s struggle to deal with the Viking age. The charge of murder made against Alarik. Ragnar’s struggle to deal with his brother and his unexplained attraction to the strange foreign woman who appears suddenly to upset his life. And Torolf, the villain whose plots and ambition to rule Rogaland threaten them all.

Griep does an excellent job of bringing the Viking world to life, fleshing out the characters, and exploiting the difficulties Cassie has adjusting to that world. She also shows us how Ragnar’s faith shines through and affects everyone. This is a great read, even for those who don’t usually read historical romance. I highly recommend it. Check out her web site: michellegriep.com

Next week, we’ll return to our look at early medieval culture with the question, What did they eat?