My Own True Love and I are in countdown mode for a trip to Iceland. You can expect future posts to be full of Vikings and other things Nordic. Here’s a little something to get us all in the mood:
In 1539, Swedish mapmaker Olaus Magnus produced what was then the most detailed map of Northern Europe. Known as the Carta Marina, it was two-meters of up-to-date information regarding both land and sea. Magnus’s illustrations were realistic when it came to land, but the further he got from the shore the more fantastic his illustrations became. In Sea Monsters: A Voyage Around the World’s Most Beguiling Map, Joseph Nigg (author of How To Raise and Keep a Dragon), takes the reader on a sea monster-sighting expedition through the map using Magnus’s own commentary as a field guide.
Nigg charts a course through the waters of Magnus’s cartographic masterpiece, sailing north from the southwest coast of Norway past the ray-like rockas, giant lobsters, beached whales, and sea serpents, to the greatest of all sea monsters, the Kraken. Each stop on the voyage is a single beast which Nigg first describes in Magnus’s own words. He then discusses its place in traditional monster lore and its legacy in later maps and natural histories. It’s easy for a map-loving reader to follow along. The book jacket unfolds into a copy of Magnus’s map.
If you’re interested in maps, monsters or beautiful books, Sea Monsters will keep you enthralled.
Part of this post appeared many moons ago in Shelf Awareness for Readers