Viking Raid: A Robert Fairchild Novel by Matthew McCleery is the 2nd book of his that I read. You can read the review of his excellent first book, The Shipping Man, here. I almost read the whole book while waiting for a connection flight. While the book builds off the first one, I found the 2nd one different. The first book was a home-run so I looked forward to reading this one. Unfortunately, like many sequels, Viking Raid didn’t meet my expectation. After setting the bar the high, Mr. McCleery found himself a victim of his success. The same thing happens with sequels of successful movies or albums. Very often it’s a tough act to follow. The first book was mainly about shipping. It was a crash course in shipping that combined finance and adventure. The best way to learn is when you are having fun and The Shipping Man did that. I expected Viking Raid to be somewhat similar but it wasn’t. I highlighted parts that I like in the first book. Parts that I could go back to later on as a reference. I didn’t highlight anything in the 2nd book. The idea of writing a book about a dry topic like finance and making it interesting is an achievement on its own. So credit to McCleery for taking on this difficult endeavour. There should be an award to each finance author that writes a finance book that doesn’t make you fall asleep. Viking Raid is categorized as a shipping book, but its mostly about the business of financing ships. Both books are about getting financing for the ships. Like I mentioned, the sequel is different. This latest book is more about Robert Fairchild, the main character, being sent around the world to accomplish a mission.
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My favorite thing about the book are the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. It’s a short paragraph at the beginning of each chapter which either provides biographical information or about a selected shipowner or features relating to the shipping industry. That’s where I got most of my learning. The shipping industry is not an industry like the others and that’s what makes it unique.
At the beginning of the book there’s something there’s a table called the The Viking Law. I’m not sure when it was written or if its really from a viking era. It’s probably one of the earliest form of “management” if there was such a thing as the word management back in the viking era. I was able to find a reproduction online and there it is below:
I recommended you read Viking Raid while travelling, especially when you think you travel itinerary is a rough one because Robert Fairchild has a torturous travelling schedule. It will definitely relieve some of your pain.