Book Review: The Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan
By Rebecca Gable
Translated by Lee Chadeayne

Based on Klaus Teuber’s wildly popular board game of the same name, The Settlers of Catan is a semi-historical/fantasy novel based on Norse cultures around the year 850 BCE. The novel was originally written in German, but has been translated into English.

The tale mostly follows Candamir, a well-respected member of Elasund, a small community in Western Europe. When Elasund is raided by a neighboring tribe, the people fear they will not have enough provisions to last through the winter. Olaf, a local merchant, tells the townspeople of Catan, a bountiful island that he discovered by accident on one his voyages. They soon agree to leave Elasund the next spring and attempt to settle this new land.

The winter is rough for the Elasunders, but most of them survive. When spring comes, they set sail for Olaf’s island. After several mishaps, they finally arrive and declare the new land an island created by their god Odin.

At first, the island seems like a paradise, but old rivalries from Elasund soon disrupt the peace and cause splits within the village. Candamir must find a way to protect his people while trying to give the a better life than the one they left behind.

For the most part, I really enjoyed The Settlers of Catan novel. The plot was interesting and the characters were believable and well-rounded. I don’t know as much as I would like to about Norse cultures, but the society seemed consistent for the time period. My biggest complaint about the novel was the high amount of sexual content. For a book based on a family game (ages 10+), the author didn’t spare many details of the characters’ sexual encounters and fantasies, including a couple of homosexual acts. I would not recommend this book to most audiences simply because of the amount of sexual content. If you don’t mind that kind of thing then this was a really good book.

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