Island Stories

220px-FiveOnATreasureIslandNicola here. Since the time I first picked up a book I’ve been fascinated by islands, both in real life and as the setting for stories. Whether it's Five on a Treasure Island or The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton, or Robinson Crusoe or Lord of the Flies (well not so much that one, perhaps) there is something magical about an island.

Islands offer the idea of escape and retreat and also the opportunity to start afresh. They are places set apart where you can take time and space to think. They appear solitary and pure in some ways, an earthly paradise. But they can also be too isolated, even savage, which is perhaps they make such great settings for crime novels. An island, if you can’t get off it easily, is the perfect “locked room” mystery as Agatha Christie proved and countless other crime and thriller authors have used the setting.

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Northern Isles: Shetland

Shetland relief mapby Mary Jo

I've already blogged about the RNA conference in Leeds and our wonderful visit to Orkney. Now it's time for the last chapter of our journey: Shetland, the island group that is the farthest northern reach of the archipelago that is Great Britain. The islands are due west of Norway, and the ties between Norway and Shetland are ancient and deep. Shetland has over 100 islands, about 15 of which are inhabited.

Like Orkney, Shetland was never a Celtic land, and the ancient language was Norn, which influences the present day dialect. Our fine driver/guide, Grant Redfern, said that when he had Norwegian customers, they could understand him, but to his annoyance, he couldn't understand when they spoke in Norwegian. <G>

IMG_3384Shetland is the farthest northern splash of the archipelago that is the British Isles, and Shetland is closer to Bergen, Norway than it is to Edinburgh. Smack dab in the middle of the sea routes from Norway, it was a jumping off place for Viking western explorations.


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