Compass set at true north. I have a thing for Arctic countries. Most obviously Iceland, but really any country that has a Viking past, which is actually quite a number of countries, not always Arctic either, if you count Sicily (invaded by the Normans = Norsemen = original Vikings). I have no Scandinavian blood in me, so this is not a search-for-my-roots quest. But I can pinpoint the moment I became fascinated with the Vikings, this formerly wild conquering tribe; it was in the York Museum in northern England many years ago. I was a young woman then, staring at a diorama of another young woman standing outside of a hut in a re-creation of medieval Viking York. I was hooked, natch. Since that day I’ve written a master’s thesis on the second Viking invasion of England; an unpublished historical novel set during the second Viking invasion of England (sensing a theme?); and now a blog about Iceland, where many of those wandering Vikings settled. What can I say—I’m working it out.