Saturday, 11 June 2016

Chronological Links

In The Demon Of Scattery by Poul Anderson & Mildred Downey Broxon, the viking Halldor and the nun Brigit come together. At the end of ...Scattery, its narrator, Mananaan MacLir, tells Skafloc that Brigit's first son became the father of Gunnhild, the witch-queen, who is the title character of Anderson's Mother Of Kings. In his Afterword to Mother..., Anderson tells us that Gunnhild's contemporary, Harald Fairhair, was the great-great-grandfather of Harald Hardrada, who is the title character of Anderson's The Last Viking Trilogy. Thus, these three works form a chronological sequence:

The Demon Of Scattery
Mother Of Kings
The Last Viking (3 volumes)

However, Mananaan narrates ...Scattery during an interval in the action of The Broken Sword. Therefore, this volume becomes number three in the sequence.

Set several centuries earlier and in this order are:

The King Of Ys (4 volumes; with Karen Anderson)
War Of the Gods
Hrolf Kraki's Saga

The Broken Sword refers to the sunken city of Ys which was flooded at the end of The King Of Ys, Volume III. Mananaan is the son (Mac) of Lir, one of the Three Gods of Ys. Hrolf Kraki's Saga is narrated to the English King Aethelstan, another contemporary of Gunnhild. Thus, these twelve volumes form a long historical sequence preceded by three novels set Before Christ, three set in the fourteenth century and several set in different historical or prehistorical periods, the last group overlapping with Anderson's futuristic fiction. And there are four contemporary novels between the historical and the futuristic.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

While it is true that both King Aethelstan and Harald Fairhair were contemporaries of Queen Gunnhild, I think it should be stressed they were OLDER contemporaries whom she long outlived. Moreover, I argue that the Anderson works you discussed should not be thought of too tightly as parts of a series--rather, they are independent books sharing, at most, a common historical and cultural background.

I am not saying readers should not NOTICE things like how THE BROKEN SWORD mentions Ys, only that THE KING OF YS is an independent story not directly connected to THE BROKEN SWORD. We SHOULD appreciate such background echoes to ideas or themes found in other books--but not attempt to bind them together too tightly.