In Forkbeard's Wake: Coasting Around Scandinavia

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9780007104758: In Forkbeard's Wake: Coasting Around Scandinavia

A fascinating voyage around Scandinavia – from Viking past to volvo present. Spanning boatbuilding, drinking competitions, storms at sea, murder, kayaking and incredibly dangerous New Year fireworks, In Forkbeard’s Wake is at once history, travelogue, social commentary and ripping yarn.

Revenging the murder of his sister, Svein Forkbeard invaded England in 1014 and became Britain's least known (and shortest reigning) king. Fascinated by his exploits and armed with a degree in heroic literature, Ben Nimmo decided to find his own inner Viking by reversing the steps of Forkbeard's journey. So he bought a steel ship and set out across the North Sea to the Baltic.

But Ben soon discovered that the blood-soaked poetry of the sagas by no means provided an infallible guide to present-day Scandinavia. And a varied cast of dentists and retired police chiefs, teachers, shopkeepers, lock-keepers, farmers, musicians, archaeologists, small children – and a dolphin – and some hair-raising adventures all combined to teach him unforgettable (often hilarious) lessons about the Norse mindset and history. How to appreciate the grimness of the Viking sense of humour? How to clear away a flotilla of jellyfish? Why the most common Scandinavian name is – Fred? How to (unwillingly) build up a vast collection of butter knives when you don't even like butter? How not to get shipwrecked? What is the true meaning of berserk? How to gatecrash a jazz festival with a trombone? Find out just how close a small country can get to starting World War III? What has happened to the herring? How to survive a night out as official translator for a company of drunken Welsh fusiliers looking for fun? What happens when a group of elderly jazz musicians fall in love with a pop group? Why is the beer so expensive? How did a longship work? How does a Norwegian bride earn the money for all the drinks on her hen night? And what happens when winter comes?

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From the Back Cover:

COASTING AROUND SCANDINAVIA ON A JOURNEY, A HISTORY, AND A RIPPING GOOD YARN

Svein Forkbeard invaded England in 1014 and became Britain's least known (and shortest reigning) King. Fascinated by his exploits and armed with a degree in heroic literature, Ben Nimmo decided to find his own inner Viking by reversing the steps of Forkbeard's journey. So he bought a boat and set out across the North Sea to the Baltic.

But Ben soon discovered that the blood-soaked poetry of the sagas doesn't offer an infallible guide to present day Scandinavia. And a varied cast of small children and retired police chiefs, archaeologists, a dentist and a dolphin, along with some hair-raising adventures, competed to teach him unforgettable (often hilarious) lessons about the Norse mindset and history.

'In Forkbeard's Wake' takes a fascinating voyage – from Viking past to Volvo present. The journey spans boatbuilding, drinking competitions, storms at sea, flotillas of jellyfish, longships, hen nights, herring-eating, hundreds of men called Fred, Nordic patriotism, jazz, kayaking, and incredibly dangerous New Year fireworks. With wit and irreverence, it conveys all the ludicrous, endearing and addictive charm of Scandinavia.

"Ben Nimmo is delightful and engaging company…the perfect antidote to all little Englanders abroad."
'Guardian'

About the Author:

Ben Nimmo was born in Kendal in 1972 and grew up in Wolverhampton, where he still lives. He attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. As a musician he has played in a brass band in New Zealand, recorded a CD with his University Swing Band and played in the Albert Hall. He has spent time helping to rebuild a twelfth century castle in France and teaching scuba diving in Egypt and Belize. He now travels and writes full time.

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