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Author's Chat - James L. Nelson

A Two Hundred Year Invasion: The Story of the Vikings in Ireland

By the year 795 the Roman Empire was long gone and all of Europe was solidly in the Dark Ages. Among those countries, Ireland stood out as the great refuge of Christian culture and Western Civilization, an island nation largely untouched by outside influences. That is, until the Irish were visited by most unwelcome guests – Viking raiders from Norway, who plundered the exposed and barely protected monasteries along the coast. For the next two hundred years the Vikings came, and eventually their raiding voyages became voyages of settlement, and rather than tear monasteries down they built cities up. By the mid-800s, the only city of note in all of Ireland was a Viking settlement at a place that the Irish called Dubh-linn.

Award-winning author James L. Nelson has turned his story-telling skills toward the unique history of the Viking raids and settlements in medieval Ireland, the influence that the Norsemen had on Irish culture, and vice versa. His novel, Fin Gall (which means in Gaelic “White Strangers”, the Irish term for the Norwegian Vikings) first of the popular Norsemen Saga, tells the story of the Viking incursions into the island, and the violent opposition they met at Irish hands. Nelson will be discussing this little known but fascinating story and signing copies of his book at our Author’s Chat on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 1:30 pm. Free, open to the public.

Jim Nelson was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine and graduated from UCLA with a degree in motion picture/television production. Finding that despite being in Southern California, it was a damp, drizzly November in his soul, Jim took the cure Melville recommended and decided to sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. For six years he worked on board traditional sailing ships before turned thirty and realizing it would be easier to write about sailing rather than actually doing it. His career as a writer began in 1994 and he has since written more than twenty works of maritime fiction and history. He is the winner or the American Library Association/William Young Boyd Award and the Naval Order’s Samuel Eliot Morison Award. Nelson has lectured all over the country and appeared on the Discovery Channel, History Channel and BookTV. He currently lives in Harpswell, Maine, with his former shipmate, now wife Lisa and two of their four children.