The Long Ships: A Saga of the Viking Age

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9780006126096: The Long Ships: A Saga of the Viking Age

This saga brings alive the world of the 10th century AD when the Vikings raided the coasts of England. Acclaimed as one of the best historical novels ever written, this engaging saga of Viking adventure in 10th century northern Europe has a very appealing young hero, Orm Tostesson, whose story we follow from inexperienced youth to adventurous old age, through slavery and adventure to a royal marriage and the search for great treasure. Viking expeditions take him to lands as far apart as England, Moorish Spain, Gaardarike (the country that was to become Russia), and the long road to Miklagard. The salt-sea spray, the swaying deck awash in slippery blood are the backdrop to fascinating stories of King Harald Blue Tooth, the Jomsvikings, attempts to convert the Northmen to Christianity, and much else. Like H. Rider Haggard, Bengtsson is a master of the epic form.

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About the Author:

Frans G. Bengtsson, Swedish essayist, novelist, poet, and biographer, was born in Tossjo, near Kristianstad, as the son of the manager of an estate in Skane. Bengtsson was the first successful practitioner of the informal essay in Sweden, a genre that he virtually introduced to the literature of his own country. His best-known novel is Rode orm (1941-45, The Long Ships), a Viking saga written in an ornate and romantic style.

Review:

"The literary equivalent of an action- and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won't insult your intelligence...Orm is a charismatic character, and Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer - even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages. All novels should be so lucky as to age this well." --NPR "A household name in Scandinavian literature since its publication during World War II, the title "The Long Ships" is recognizable to English-speakers, if at all, from a tenuously related 1964 epic with Sidney Poitier. New York Review Books reckons to remedy that with this 500-page hunk chronicling 20 years in the life of Red Orm, a son of Skania, born during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, who first goes a-viking as a teen....And if the company of so many burly, bearded heroes can weary, Bengtsson's clear-eyed witnessing of a new world dawning does not." "-L

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Bengtsson, Frans Gunnar; Meyer, Michael
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