When is a sequel not a sequel? This is the burning philosophical question that Bill Arnott's book, Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, attempts to answer.
No, Arnott has not shifted careers from witty travel writer and adventurer to a Left Bank philosophe.
However, the next tome in his adventure saga comprises travels from both before, during, and after the writing of his first book, Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. You can read our review of the first installment of the Gone Viking series right here.
It took Arnott more than eight years to write this next installment, thanks to a combination of factors, including being inducted as a Royal Fellow of the Geographic Society in the United Kingdom, and, well, I dread to mention it, but you know, that global virus that essentially shut down the whole world around 2020.
Travel restrictions aside, Arnott does his best to bring the reader on another whimsical and lighthearted romp around the globe.
However, sadly, what was funny and magical in the first installment can be a little tiring in this second installment.
- READ MORE: Why did the Vikings leave Scandinavia?
Nova Scotia’s east coast is just one of the many parts of the world that Bill Arnott explores in his adventurous narrative, always more concerned about the journey itself than the destination. Photo: Shawn M. Kent / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 1.0)
The Viking spirit
As a travel writer, Arnott is more concerned about the journey itself than the destination.
However, some of the destinations – like the epicenter of the E.U., Brussels, or the southwest coast of England – are hardly synonymous with exotic exploits.
Nevertheless, Arnott has a love of the seas, much like people from Viking societies, and much of the action involves or is around wide expanses of water.
The best part of Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries deals with his adventures in New Zealand, where he passionately describes his multi-day hikes and the gorgeous scenery.
Multiple silly references to the Lord of the Rings movie franchise fall flat, but Arnott does seem to know his J.R.R. Tolkien.
For lovers of all things Viking – as we are here at The Viking Herald – this book offers extremely slim pickings.
While there are voyages, none are near the Viking ancestral homelands of Scandinavia. Yet, Arnott taps into the "Viking spirit," albeit with a very modern twist.
For Arnott, this spirit is an eternal quest to satisfy the adrenaline junkie within by exploring, roaming, hiking, kayaking, and voyaging all over the world.
From the British Isles to British Columbia, via Australia, the Southern Ocean, and even into the Caribbean, Arnott writes with his usual laid-back and carefree style, dotted with poetry and occasional witticisms.
There is nothing too original about this second installment of Bill Arnott's Gone Viking series, but there is enough adrenaline, adventure, and fun there to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon.
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