Monday, July 9, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #21

A while back I was focused on Viking tales since my second novel has a big Viking component. I’ve unfortunately fallen way behind on both novel #2 and my reviews of great Viking tales, but at least one such tale can serve as my “beginning” of the week. So without further ado, here is the first paragraph of Bernard Cornwell’s The Pale Horseman (you can read my review of the novel here).
These days I look at twenty-year-olds and think they are pathetically young, scarcely weaned from their mother’s tits, but when I was twenty I considered myself a full-grown man. I had fathered a child, fought in the shield wall, and was loath to take advice from anyone. In short I was arrogant, stupid, and headstrong. Which is why, after our victory at Cynuit, I did the wrong thing.
– Bernard Cornwell, The Pale Horseman

In my view, this opening works wonderfully. There’s a hint of conflict (something bad happened, he did the wrong thing) and the narration, from the viewpoint of the main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg (one of my favorite antiheroes), sets the perfect tone for the novel. And it reminds me why Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors. Let me know what you think about the opening passage of The Pale Horseman.

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