The vikings in fiction

This section contains references to and short reviews of fiction books where vikings play an important part. (Continues on page 2.)

  Title/author Description Order from:
  Poul Anderson Fictionalized viking sagas  
Hrolf Kraki's Saga, Poul Anderson Hrolf Kraki's Saga, by Poul Anderson This book tells the Viking saga of Hrolf Kraki. Poul Anderson has crafted this great fantasy novel from the legendary king's story. Hrolf was a sort of Arthurian equivalent of the northern folk tales and myths, but Anderson brought him to life in this retelling of his exploits. It is a myth retold, rather than historical fiction. Amazon US
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Mother of Kings,  Poul Anderson Mother of Kings, by Poul Anderson Gunnhild, the daughter of a Norse chieftain, learns the ways of power early in life. Taught the art of spellcasting from a Finnish witch, she fuels her ambitions by marrying Eirik Blood-Axe, the favored son of Norway's king, and a warrior who lives up to his nickname. Eirik and Gunnhild briefly become King and Queen of England, but in this cruel and dangerous era, rivalries abound, and no one who seizes power can ever hope to hold it for long. Amazon US
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Poul Anderson, War of the Gods, Poul Anderson War of the Gods, by Poul Anderson A Dark Age saga based on Old Scandinavian mythology and the exploits of the legendary Danish King Hadding. To ensure his safety, young Hadding is sent to live with a family of jotuns, or giants. Meanwhile, Svipdag, King of Geatland and Svithjod (Sweden), invades Denmark and kills Gram. Later, helped by a disguised Odin, Hadding overcomes Svipdag, but the latter's son Uffi retains control of Geatland and Svithjod, and the blood feud between them drags on for years Amazon US
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  Bernard Cornwell The Saxon Chronicles (5 volumes)  
The Last Kingdom, Bernard Cornwell The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles Series #1), by Bernard Cornwell This series of books tells a tale from England in the late ninth century. It's focus is on the role played by a young (fictional) warrior-in-training who's at the center of the war between Christian Englishmen and the pagan Danes. Most of the other principal characters — Ubba, Guthrum, Ivar the Boneless and others —are real historical figures.

Young Uhtred, who's English, falls under the control of Viking warrior Ragnar the Fearless when the Dane wipes out Uhtred's Northumberland family. In a series of episodes, Ragnar conquers three of England's four kingdoms. Uthred becomes the adopted son of the viking lord. Great reads, very exciting!
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The Pale Horseman, Bernard Cornwell The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Chronicles Series #2), by Bernard Cornwell It's A.D. 877, and the dispossessed Northumbrian noble Uhtred, now fighting for King Alfred, has just routed the Danes in a battle at Cynuit in southern England. Logically, Uhtred should now ally himself with Alfred, whose Wessex kingdom alone has successfully resisted Danish control. But Uhtred sees a better chance of recovering his lost estate if he finds a way to join the Danes, who raised him and whose simple life of "ale, women, sword, and reputation" he finds more congenial than Alfred's Christian piety and military caution. But when the Danes invade Wessex, Uhtred's loyalties are further divided. Amazon US
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Lords of the North, Bernard Cornwell Lords of the North (The Saxon Chronicles Series #3), by Bernard Cornwell Uthred helps free Guthred, an enslaved Dane, who proclaims himself king of Northumbria. "Fate is inexorable," Uhtred constantly bemoans as he attempts to destroy such enemies as Kjartan the Cruel, Sven the One-Eyed and Ælfric (Uhtred's thief of an uncle) and woos his beloved Gisela, Guthred's Valkyrie-like sister. Uhtred must overcome many challenges, notably King Guthred's shocking betrayal that leads to Uhtred's spending two years as a shipboard slave. Amazon US
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Sword Song, Bernard Cornwell Sword Song (The Saxon Chronicles, Book 4), by Bernard Cornwell Uhtred of Bebbanburg, now a 28-year-old pagan Saxon lord of war, has pledged to serve Alfred by commanding the defensive frontier forts (burhs). Trouble arises when the Norse Viking brothers Sigefrid and Erik Thurgilson capture and occupy London, threatening Alfred's border and his control of the Thames River port. The Christian Alfred directs Uhtred to raise a Wessex army, expel the pagan Thurgilsons and resecure London. Plying his swords Serpent-Breath and Wasp-Sting, Uhtred is a stirring, larger-than-life action hero conflicted by ambition, fidelity and thirst for violence. Amazon US
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The Burning Land, Bernard Cornwell The Burning Land: A Novel The fifth volume in the bestselling Saxon Chronicles series. We are now at the end of the ninth century. Even though they have failed previously, the Danes still want to conquer Wessex. And now King Alfred of Wessex is in bad health, and his heir has no experience. The Danes' great warrior and leader, Harald Bloodhair, see a new chance.
Uthred, Alfred's very reluctant warlord, is cunning and smart, and leads Harald into a trap and defeats the Vikings at Farnham in Surrey.

The Burning Land is a well crafted novel which tells the story of how England survived the Viking onslaught, and a magnificient new tale from Bernard Cornwell.
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  Tim Severin The Viking Trilogy  
Odinn's Child, Tim Severin Odinn's Child: The Heroes of the North Live On (Viking Trilogy), by Tim Severin Tim Severin's historical accuracy is excellent in this novel which follows the exploits of the historical Thorgils, an illegitimate son of Erik the Red. Thorgils is shipped to Greenland and brought up by a series of tutors who school him in the traditional customs and religion of the Vikings. A great read. Amazon US
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Sworn Brother, Tim Severin Sworn Brother: The Heroes of the North Live On (Viking Trilogy), by Tim Severin 1020 AD, London. Thorgils has escaped the clutches of the Irish Church, but finds himself driven even further into the mire. He is at the centre of a love affair with Aelfgifu, wife of Knut the Great, ruler of England and one of the most powerful and feared men in the Viking empire. As the passionate relationship unfolds it spells trouble for Thorgils. With Thorgils finally on the run again he meets up with an outlaw, Grettir. The pair become traveling companions and sworn brothers. At the gates of Byzantium Thorgils' loyalty is put to the ultimate test. Amazon US
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Viking: King's Man, Tim Severin Viking: King's Man, by Tim Severin In Constantinople (1035) Thorgils has become a member of the Varangian lifeguard, where he witnesses the glories of the richest city on earth. He embarks on a campaign launched to recover Sicily from the Saracens. After years of traveling, Thorgils retreats to Sweden, but is eventually summoned again to assist in coordinating William the Conqueror’s invasion of England. In September 1066, a Norse fleet of three hundred ships sails towards England and the battle begins. Amazon US
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