Steven H. Wilson goes Beyond Borders to Worship Odin

By Steven H, Wilson

Steven H. Wilson AIn ReDeus: Divine Tales, I told how the Norse God Bragi came to mentor a desperate musician who was down and out as a result of the fall of YouTube. Axel Sage had hit it so big on the Web in 2012 that he was up for a role on The Voice, and his fame and fortune were assured. Then the gods returned, shut down the Internet for all intents and purposes, and Axel’s hopes were dashed until Bragi came into his life. Of course, Axel had to outsmart Loki before he could claim his place as Bragi’s pupil. Now he’s training as a real Norse bard.

This time, I chose to take my young rock star to Sweden, where Odin and the Aesir are assembling a new brotherhood of Vikings and a new sisterhood of Valkyries. The Aesir are probably the most techno-friendly of the gods, so they’ve embraced reality TV. Their new followers are recruited on the twin series Who Wants to Be a Viking? and Who Wants to Be a Valkyrie? Axel lands right in the thick of it, falling for a beautiful warrior maiden named Annika. Odin wants Axel, who’s enjoyed fame the world over for a decade, to get married, settle down and make his home with the Vikings. But Axel doesn’t believe in warfare, especially when it’s war waged as an amusement. He also can’t be sure his feelings for Annika are genuine, because Loki’s hovering around again. How does he know he’s not under some sort of spell? It all comes to a head when a young Viking challenges Axel to battle for the hand of the lovely Valkyrie who’s won his heart. Axel doesn’t mind being called a coward, and he’s willing to walk away, until he hears a prophecy which foretells his lady love could die if he doesn’t intervene.

This story touches on a lot of themes which are important to me: free will, peace, how our leaders (gods or mortal) play games with our lives, and how we often can’t even be sure of our own motives. ReDeus is a great stage on which to examine our relationships to each other, how much control we have over our own destinies, and what the implications of divinity are. The great thing about so many of the classical gods is that they’re not perfect. They can be petty, self-absorbed and manipulative, just like we can! They’re older and more powerful, which means they have their share of wisdom. They can be of great benefit to the humans they encounter. They can also overstep themselves and deprive us of the things that we, as humans, have come to value as the most important parts of our lives: self-determination, justice, and the opportunity to succeed on our own.

Axel is older in this story, and more grown up. In some ways, it’s a coming-of-age tale, even though he’s thirty or so, because Axel has to make a clear decision about what he’s going to do with his life. I’m especially excited because Bob, Aaron and Paul let me plant some seeds in this story which could grow a very interesting crop in future volumes. ReDeus: Beyond Borders is going to be a tour of the world of fantasy and myth with some very capable guides. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and let us show you around.

ReDeus: Beyond Borders will be available in print and digital formats when released in late May.

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