Norway is my most favorite place I have never been.
I feel like I’ve been there. I did quite a lot of research on Norway when I was writing FORLORN. I always try to make my details as truthful as I possibly can, except for the parts I just make up.
The third book in the series, FORGIVEN, actually does return to Norway, so maybe I will finally get to take a research trip there. (I have been to Iceland, which is kind of like Norway, since it was settled by the Vikings originally. Does that count?)
I’m sitting on the couch right now, watching Norway clean up in the Olympics. They call their team “the Attacking Vikings” which is such a lame title as to be kind of endearing.
It makes me love Norway even more, even though I really hate cold weather and I think cross-country skiing is some form of self-torture. Plus, Norwegian food looks a bit scary.
Recently I read THE WINTER FORTRESS by Neal Bascomb, which is about the Norwegian Resistance’s attempt to sabotage a plant in Norway that Hitler was using to produce something called “heavy water,” an element needed for manufacturing an atom bomb. A small group of Norwegians managed to infiltrate the plant, set explosives and escape. And then they skied over 150 miles to the Swedish border, eluding the pursuing Germans the whole way. They endured unimaginable hardship and suffering, but they did it.
There’s a scene in the book in which one Nordic operative is being chased by three German soldiers, all on skis. It’s worthy of a James Bond movie. He skies for two days with no rest and no food, at one point falling off a hundred foot cliff and breaking his arm. Not to mention the gun fight.
The Norwegian government had surrendered to Germany without much of a fight, but there was no denying the Viking pluck of the Norse people. They did truly impossible things.
And they can ski like nobody’s business.
And by the way, if you’ve never watched the TV series “Vikings,” you should. Like, right now.