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THE LONG SHIPS PDF

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Klingon Military Power Volume One: Ships Edited by Kumari Wallace Jaxon Information Institute Star Fleet Tactical C Ships From The West · Ships From The. The long ships Set in the tenth century, when Vikings roamed and rampaged from Scandinavia to the Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files. Frans Gunnar Bengtsson's The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the tenth century AD when the Vikings roamed and rampaged from the northern.


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Editorial Reviews. Review. "It's terrific fun, the kind of book that moves the fustiest of critics to pronounce it a rollicking yarn or something to that effect. Translation. In my career as a reader I have encountered only three people who knew The Long Ships, and all of them, like me, loved it immediately. Read The Long Ships Free Reading PDF. The book is set in the late 10th century & follows the adventures of Orm ("serpent"), called "Red" for his hair & his.

The main characters were written as likable anti-heroes, far from the romantic view of Vikings. In essays, Bengtsson expresses disgust with "psychological realism" in the literature of his day where the thoughts and feelings of the characters are discussed explicitly rather than indicated by actions and outward signs.

In the Swedish original of The Longships , the grammar is deliberately slightly archaic. Joan Klein noted that "Within the 10th Century plot, the book's Viking protagonists never heard of Jews, and have a completely open mind about them - and when encountering a Jew who allies with the Vikings and leads them to treasure beyond their dreams, they are duly grateful However, one can hardly overlook the fact that the book was actually written in a very specific part of the 20th Century - during the Second World War, a time when Nazi Germany was involved in a horrific persecution and massacre of Jews, while the Nazis claimed the Viking heritage for their monstrous version of German and Germanic Nationalism.

Bengtsson in effect throws the Viking heritage back in the Nazis' face" [3]. The British-Yugoslav film The Long Ships was very loosely based on the book, retaining little more than the title of the English translation and the Moorish settings. In the s, there were plans for a large-scale Swedish screen adaptation. The project was cancelled for financial reasons, but Alfredson's script was reworked into radio theatre which was broadcast in In the Swedish production company Fladen Film announced they had acquired the film rights for the book, and that an adaptation was under development.

This adaptation is planned to be split into two films and also as a TV-series in four parts. Hans Petter Moland from Norway will be directing. In the show was brought to Ulvedalene in Dyrehaven park. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the novel by Frans G. For the film loosely based on the book, see The Long Ships film.

For Viking ships in general, see Longship. For other uses, see Longship disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Find sources: Svenska Dagbladet in Swedish. Retrieved Swedish Film Database in Swedish. Swedish Film Institute. Screen Daily. Dagens Nyheter. Svenska Dagbladet. Det KGL Teater. Many still preferred the pagan Gods, and in many ways this was more practical.

For instance, turning the other cheek was often deadly. The most effective witnessing tended to emphasize the luck Christ could bring. Which is better, a prayer to the Christian God or the blood of a goat when launching ship? The empirical evidence was mixed. It was funny to hear a new convert talk to others trying to get them to join the fold. Religious conflict made for an interesting theme throughout the book. The Writing: The story was told episodically and in aggregate made for quite a saga in the Icelandic tradition.

It even contained bits of poetry, and characters who could create rhymes on the spot were greatly esteemed. As for style, it was straight-ahead story-telling at its best. I often go for more literary fare, but was happy in this case that these Vikings had no interest in navels. There was often a quick-wittedness and a sly humor that transcended the many centuries. For instance, I had to laugh when some of the graybeards were sitting around complaining about how soft this new generation of men had become compared to the men of yore.

There was a certain cleverness in financial matters, too.

The Long Ships

In one tongue-in-cheek exchange, one of the men negotiating terms suggested that A should decide how much B should give him and B should decide how much A should give him. Some of you are you still with me Susan? There were knowing little nods to sexuality, too, that a modern audience can appreciate.

Closing the Deal Be you man or woman, weenie or brute, I implore you to embark upon this journey, unlikely as it may seem to besot you. View all 67 comments. May 23, Lori rated it really liked it. It's an adventure story written in the style of an Icelandic saga. I listened to an audio version read by Michael Page. I'm not thrilled with the cover art on either it or the paperback.

The long ships

Bengtsson, Michael Meyer read by Michael Page. View all 7 comments. This year my reading has been, to a great extent, directed by my travels or visits. These also account for my irregular presence in GR. I have been either on the go, or involved with other projects related to the travels. As one of my upcoming trips is to the South of Spain, to Andalusia, I have been reading about the Muslim and medieval times in Spain. Prior to this, I had also travelled to another enclave that lies deep in the Christian medieval times of Spain, to Burgos, and this had me readin This year my reading has been, to a great extent, directed by my travels or visits.

Prior to this, I had also travelled to another enclave that lies deep in the Christian medieval times of Spain, to Burgos, and this had me reading on those Reconquering kings.

And then, unexpectedly, I was invited to join another trip to Norway; rapidly I put aside the medieval Moors and Christians, and picked this book up. What a surprise it was, that once I boarded on this literary long ships of Vikings, after not many pages, I found myself back in the Cordoba Caliphate, with Al-Mansur , and accompanying the captured Viking: With him and Al-Manur, I travelled and stole, literarily and vicariously, the bells from the Santiago de Compostela church.

Doing this from the 21st century allowed me to know that from Burgos, Ferdinand III, over two centuries later, would recover and bring back to Santiago the stolen bells. Eventually I left Andalusia with Orm, and met Harald Bluetooth , and while I write this, I look at the Bluetooth icon on the top right of my computer, and think what would have Harald thought if he had known that this technology that sends information in a most animistic fashion--that not even Odin would have been able to dream of--, would be named after him.

Since my edition has put the two original books together, those published in and in , I then follow Orm to his invasion of England, and, again, my reading so long after the fact enables me to know that about seventy years later the Norsemen would be more successful and determinant in their renewed invading efforts.

And of course my visit a few years ago to Bayeux , and its tapestry, inevitably comes to mind. I just hope the way my reading and my traveling weave together, just like a Viking or a Muslim cloth. View all 39 comments. Brilliant comic novel about life in Viking Sweden. Those Vikings were real tough dudes. My favorite bit is the sequence with Orm's first captain, who has a run of bad luck and ends up being captured and sold into slavery.

The overseer knows he used to be a big guy and takes special delight in tormenting him, but the former captain waits for his chance. One day, while they're working in a shipyard, they're close to a barrel of boiling pitch; he picks up the hated overseer and dumps him in, head-f Brilliant comic novel about life in Viking Sweden. One day, while they're working in a shipyard, they're close to a barrel of boiling pitch; he picks up the hated overseer and dumps him in, head-first.

He's immediately run through with three spears, but has time for some last words. He looks calmly around him and says: There is hardly any novel I know which is so simply enjoyable. The author said that his modest goal was "to wrote a good story, like The Odyssey or The Three Musketeers ". In my estimation, and that of many others, he succeeded; he has also been fortunate in having found a good translator, and the English edition, though not quite as fine as the Swedish original, does not fall far short.

View all 9 comments. There is plenty of adventure when the Vikings go a-Viking. They are a pragmatic bunch, and when it serves their purpose to convert to the teachings of Islam, they do so; when it is practical to become Christians, they convert again.

They do however find some of the beliefs quite strange: Some of them like Asa, expect Jesus and the angels to appear with pomp and ceremony and she plans to wear her best dress for the occasion.

Others think that Christ might arrive in a gigantic wagon driven by wild oxen. The result is that soon they are almost all pregnant, leaving the men and the priest perplexed because surely children aren't born in heaven, and consequently God must have decided to postpone the big event. Death doesn't faze them much. When their buddies croak they give them a great boozy send-off. On one occasion view spoiler [some Vikings are sitting in a row on a log waiting to be decapitated.

The heads start to roll, but: One of them said: If my brain is still working after I have lost my head, I shall stick it into the ground. There are great characters and some history, but it is the humour that I enjoyed most.

Some of the jokes are obvious, but many of the jokes are skilfully hidden in the words and were one to skim-read this novel, those jokes would fly whoosh over one's head without being noticed. Here is one of many examples: View all 25 comments. Jan 06, Algernon Darth Anyan rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the most laughs I've got out of a book dealing with pillaging, raping, burning, slaving at a galley's oar, duels to the death, wars at sea or on land.

The fun starts from the very first chapter where it is dryly suggested that the reason the Northmen were so fond of going a-viking to the ends of the known world every spring was to escape the sharp tongues and the fiery tempers of their beloved consorts. After being cooped in with them for six long and cold winter months, going out at sea This is the most laughs I've got out of a book dealing with pillaging, raping, burning, slaving at a galley's oar, duels to the death, wars at sea or on land.

After being cooped in with them for six long and cold winter months, going out at sea must have been sheer bliss. The hero of the story is Orm Tostesson, the third son of a minor chieftain, first met as an impetuous youth with a slight flaw in his character: This long epic is the story of Red Orm and his three adventurous journeys at sea, of the friendships he made, the hardships and the killings, the wealth he won and given away, the wild parties and the dubious stories he liked to tell, the wisdom and fairness that will make him a respected chieftain in his own right.

Europe around the year was a merciless world, with hundreds of kingdoms warring ceaselessly, and the travels of Orm will take him, and us, from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the Caliphate of Cordoba under al-Mansur, to Ireland under Brian Boru, to England under Ethelbert the Unready, Denmark under Harald Bluetooth where Orm will find a wife and ultimately east to the Dniepr cataracts in the Kiev voyvodate.

The interludes between the sea voyages are as just as interesting, with memorable scenes at the Yule party in Jutland or at the Thing congregation in Smaland. The passion for strong drink, brawling, wenching and storytelling coupled with the earthy, dry and slightly risque humor made me think of classic literary sources like Chaucer, Boccaccio or the Arabian Nights. For mulled ale is the body's friend And makes the sick heart merry. Then I smelled A smell remembered: Salt of spray And black-pitched boat's keel.

A "live and let live" message of tolerance that I consider still relevant today. The English translation did a very good job of maintaining the style and the rhythm of the old norse sagas, but using a language that feels modern and easy to follow. The book was a page turner for me. According to wikipedia: I hope it will remain long in print, so that future generations can read it and enjoy it.

View all 8 comments. The Long Ships: An entertaining historical fiction adventure tale featuring badass Vikings doing badass Viking things. Overall, this was a fast, fun, often exciting read, filled with a surprising amount of historically accurate details and dry humor.

View all 6 comments. A five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year ? Sure, why not? This book has got more booty than a Sir Mix-a-Lot video.

Red Orm is our hero, a strangely lovable barbarian who begins the novel as a pubescent naif and ends it as a wealthy chieftain. Oops, spoiler alert retroactive. I'm not really giving anything away there. This is very much an old fashioned A five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year ?

This is very much an old fashioned epic of seafaring, treasure hunting, and grisly spear fighting, so there's little doubt that that things end well for the protagonist—which isn't to say that he doesn't have to steer his painted dragon ship through many a shitstorm to arrive at the happy ending. Anyway, people who lived in Scandinavia one thousand years ago were some hardcore mofos.

I'm not implying that non-Scandinavian people were pussies, but I haven't read any novels about them, so they're temporarily irrelevant. Life's pretty cheap to this sort. One day everything is status quo, and the next day they're at a drunken feast fighting to the death with some Swedish lug for giving them the stinkeye.

And nobody bats an eyelash. This is just another day. In other words, don't make any longterm goals, because any day now someone could split your skull in half. Maybe even by accident, thinking you were Smalander when you were really from Lister. But it's just no big deal. Your family washes out your chainmail and asks what's for dinner.

There is a lack of sentimentality in Y1K that makes the Seinfeld final episode look like a Douglas Sirk movie. Bengtsson, I think, realized that this could be a problem for modern audiences, so he gives us a relatively honorable and 'good' Viking to follow around.

Don't get me wrong. Red Orm is all about killing for booty, but he lets the other dude attack first so he can take the moral high ground. But needless to say, when you're dealing with a five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year , you start out a little skeptical maybe.

This doesn't exactly sound like something to read while you're waiting for your oil to be changed. But this novel has received some pretty rapturous acclaim from blurbsters the world over. In fact, one female reviewer made a case that even chicks would dig this book.

I don't know about that.

I mean, maybe a certain type of chick. I'm thinking a Renaissance Faire chick or one who enjoys role playing games. And that's still a maybe. I think the so-called universal appeal of this novel is somewhat overstated. Yes, it is a rollicking adventure, but that's all it is. If you're looking for more—like literary substance and profound meaning—go pick up a V. Andrews novel, for Chrissake. That's not what The Long Ships is trying to sell you.

This is the tentpole movie of literary fiction. Approach it as such and enjoy. Nov 24, Jacob rated it it was amazing Shelves: When the news reached their homeland that few of them could be expected to return, elegies were declaimed and memorial stones set up; whereupon all sensible men agreed that what had happened was for the best, for they could now hope to have a more peaceful time than before, and less parceling out of land by the ax and sword.

There followed a time of plenty, with fine rye harvests and great herring catches, so that most people were well contented; but there were some who thought that the crops were tardy, and they went a-viking in Ireland and England, where fortune smiled on their wars; and many of them stayed there.

The Long Ships , p. A time when men were men and women were often kidnapped That's all I got. Damn you, reviewer's block! Imagine, if you will, that I took all the rage and frustration and snarky derision that I generally reserve for my one-star reviews, channeled that energy into something more positive, and used it to write a review of The Long Ships.

Imagine that that review was powerful and clever and witty--imagine it was amazing, astounding, the best review I've ever written. Now, imagine that you read this imaginary review and were so amazed that you decided to read the book. Now imagine you went to your library or to Amazon or to your local independent bookstore, and--wait, no, don't imagine, damn it! Stop imagining how awesome this book will be and go read it! This book is so awesome my reviewing powers actually failed!

How is that not convincing enough? DO IT. Still not convinced? Maybe Ceridwen's review will help. View all 13 comments.

What a fun book! Bengtsson's sparse prose style works well with his dry and understated humor. View all 3 comments. Swiftly moving, endlessly entertaining, and brimming with historically accurate 10th-century flavor, this recounts in Norse saga fashion the adventures of Orm Tostesson aka "Red Orm" , beginning with his capture as a young lad by Vikings, where, initially taken as a slave, he quickly proves his mettle and is initiated into the group as one of their own, and is eventually elected chieftain.

The book follows Orm as he travels far and wide, makes lifelong friendships and a few enemies , fights ba Swiftly moving, endlessly entertaining, and brimming with historically accurate 10th-century flavor, this recounts in Norse saga fashion the adventures of Orm Tostesson aka "Red Orm" , beginning with his capture as a young lad by Vikings, where, initially taken as a slave, he quickly proves his mettle and is initiated into the group as one of their own, and is eventually elected chieftain.

The book follows Orm as he travels far and wide, makes lifelong friendships and a few enemies , fights battles on land and at sea, accumulates wealth, finds love, and eventually makes his way back home and settles down to a quiet family life Enormously popular in Sweden since its publication during the Second World War, it deserves to be more widely known in the States because so many people would love it if they read it.

If you read it you'll feel as if they're your friends as well. I guess I have to move on to something else now.

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I have no doubt I'll return to it in the future, though. View all 10 comments. There is no interior monologue in this novel. It's all on the outside. And even so when I think how to describe my feeling about this book, the words that come to mind are "what a lark! I loved it the way I loved Star Wars circa View 1 comment. Hey thanks, Manny. I hate violence, historical fiction makes me throw up, I stopped reading adventure books when I was twelve and Viking gods bored me to tears when I was going through my pagan gods stage in primary school and - WOW That's so - well, I'm just lost for words - of you.

Yes, I can see it was a big concession, really you wanted to get it in Swedish and I could put it on my list of languages I have to learn. And no, even though Hey thanks, Manny. And no, even though I adore knitting, really, this is so much better than that amazing pattern book I was admiring the other day. It's even better than that text book on computer humour you got me last year. Yes, good point, I can't really say that until I've read the book on computer humour, but you read it and so I heard a lot about it.

In fact, I must remember to put that on my 'books I've lived through' shelf. Rest is here: View 2 comments. Jan 04, Elizabeth K. Here there be vikings! This is relatively recently back in print in English, and the new edition has a forward by Michael Chabon, in which he goes on about it like a maniac.

One of the things I like about Michael Chabon is that you can always count on him for some solid hyperbole, so I wasn't taking it that seriously. By about the third page, I was convinced it was the best book I'd ever read, and by the tenth page, was wondering why anyone ever bothered writing a book after After the worl Here there be vikings!

After the world has an epic novel about Red Orm, the hypochondriac viking, what more does it need? I suppose one would have to be at least moderately interested in historical fiction, but that aspect isn't dry at all and although it references lots of actual battles and monarchs and events, it doesn't dwell on any of them in a tiresome way.

The Long Ships

I am giving everyone due notice that I am going to start using "viking" as a verb. I also might run away from home and join a viking crew, I haven't decided yet. Jan 10, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: When asked what he had in mind writing his adventure novel The Long Ships , author Frans Gunnar Bengtsson answered, "I just wanted to write a story that people could enjoy reading, like The Three Musketeers or The Odyssey. His work has been translated into 23 languages at last count.

I have always loved literature by and about the Vikings -- from the great Icelandic Sagas to the Saxon Tales of Bernard Cornwell -- and I have always felt that they ha When asked what he had in mind writing his adventure novel The Long Ships , author Frans Gunnar Bengtsson answered, "I just wanted to write a story that people could enjoy reading, like The Three Musketeers or The Odyssey.

I have always loved literature by and about the Vikings -- from the great Icelandic Sagas to the Saxon Tales of Bernard Cornwell -- and I have always felt that they have received short shrift from literary critics.

So much the worse for them! The only thing I could possibly complain about The Long Ships is that it's almost too much of a good thing. If it were written today instead of during the dark days of World War II, it would have been turned into a whole series of novels and made even more money and fame for its author.

But during wartime, writers and other artists had to make do with what they could. I remember, for instance, two wonderful films produced under the Nazis during the war, both of which are now available in DVD. The Long Ships takes place all over the known Viking world, with the exception of Iceland, Greenland, and the struggling Vinland colony. He marries the daughter of King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark, finds buried treasure in the lands of the Patzinaks Pechenegs in Russia, and conducts a war against brigands who raided and plundered his household while he was away.

The tale takes place in that strange period just before and after the year A. Christians were predicting the end of the world, which, of course, did not happen, but Red Orm himself converts to Christianity, as does most of his household, and he actively tries to convert other local Asatru-worshipers in his part of Southern Sweden.

One of the best characters is Father Willibald, who builds a church on Orm's property. Orm - a Viking that goes a-viking, has many adventures, learns much, has great luck overall , and tries out a few different religions along the way.

Orm Tostesson aka Red Orm is a wonderfully developed character that we follow throughout his life: This is a fast paced adventure that seems to provide a true feel for the Viking era.

There is also a colorful cast of side-characters that you have the pleasure of knowing along the way, each with their own virtues and failings.

It has the feel of a first-rate escapist novel, being humorous and a real adventure saga, while still inspiring thought and imparting knowledge. It also might inspire one to imbibe in much ale and plunder thy neighbors in an honorable fashion - as one does. I loved this book!

I've rarely read anything so entertaining, the narrative exudes of energy and storytelling joy "fortellerglede" in Norwegian. It took a little while before I got used to the language, but after the first couple of hours out of 17 I ceased to notice.

The book was first published in the 's and the Swedish used had not been modernized for the edition I listened to. With time I fou I loved this book! With time I found that the archaic language fit a story set around the year perfectly. Highly recommended! Author Frans G.

Bengtsson showed some mettle himself Red Orm would be proud , refusing to consent to a Norwegian translation of his book as long as the Norwegians were allied with Nazi Germany. But the book. It captures the spirit of a-Viking as a way of life.

This, from p. Old friends Toke and Orm are reunited, and with them is Orm's young son, Blackhair, who is getting his first taste of seasickness: It is good to sit contented ashore, and no man need be ashamed to do so; but a voyage to a far land, with booty awaiting a man and this smell in the nostrils, is as good a lot as could be desired, and a sure cure for age and sorrow.

It is strange that we Northmen, who know this and are more skillful seamen than other men, sit at home as much as we do, when we have the whole world to plunder. But this smell is nothing to complain of.

He and a fellow Viking become bodyguards for a Muslim prince and convert to the faith of Muhammad to become a Muslim is a simple act, after all -- one need only recite that there is only one God and Muhammad is His prophet.

When their chance to escape comes, Orm and friend flee and wash up on an Irish island. Soon they're in a second escapade battling King Ethelred of England -- another real person this being historical fiction. A brief idyll takes us to Denmark, where Orm marries, has children, and becomes relatively comfortable, though adventures never cease including a battle against raging berserkers and Orm converts to Christianity, something many Vikings still shied away from in his day.

The last segment takes us past Kiev where Orm and a shipload of Vikings seek out Bulgar gold. This last part moves quickly and seems to get short shrift compared to the Moorish segment and the English one. Overall, a wonderful plot book that gives you a real sense of how the Vikings lived, ate, killed, and thought.

Of course, not all Vikings are alike, as Orm proves all too well. Written in a traditional, narrative style, the book has an old-fashioned feel to it and catches you up in the tide of its story. You grow to like Orm and his wild wife, Ylva. And, when all is said and done, you kind of miss them. One more voyage, you wonder? But Bengtsson is long gone, having died in the 50's.

A wonderful modern classic with a nice plea for all to read from Michael Chabon in the introduction. Ah, the Mysteries of Jutland View all 17 comments. A rollicking Viking novel.

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The story follows the intrepid Red Orm from his youth through to maturity as a husband, father and warrior of renown. This lengthy novel is action packed with wonderful descriptions of Viking culture and customs. A surprisingly humorous novel in parts, great fun to read.

Loved the female characters here, especially Asa the mother of Red Orm. Historical allegories are always useful when you live in troubled times but don't necessarily want to talk directly about them because you never know who might be listening, and obviously for painting a bigger picture with older roots than newspapers can do. Sweden was neutral in WWII and eager not to openly piss off our big neighbour in the South, and consequently historical literature got a boost; Vilhelm Moberg's Ride This Night is a thinly veiled anti-fascist tract set in 17th century Sweden Historical allegories are always useful when you live in troubled times but don't necessarily want to talk directly about them because you never know who might be listening, and obviously for painting a bigger picture with older roots than newspapers can do.

Sweden was neutral in WWII and eager not to openly piss off our big neighbour in the South, and consequently historical literature got a boost; Vilhelm Moberg's Ride This Night is a thinly veiled anti-fascist tract set in 17th century Sweden, singer Karl Gerhard was blacklisted for likening Nazi sympathisers to the invaders of Troy, and Eyvind Johnson's novel Return To Ithaca lets Homer's characters live through the aftermath of a war that's ruined everything they've ever known.

The Long Ships, on the surface, doesn't have any such pretenses. It's the story of Orm Tostesson, born in what is today southern Sweden in the midth century, and his life and travels as a viking. Kidnapped by vikings at a young age, he travels all over Europe - sold as a slave to the Moors, rises to chiefdom among his men, helps plunder England, goes treasure-hunting in the Ukraine, and eventually settles on a farm in Scania where he becomes old and rich.

Along the way, he meets many of the great men of his time far too conveniently at times, but hey , converts to Islam, converts back to paganism, converts to Christianity, consumes a lot of beer and pork, and makes good use of his sword. It strikes me about halfway in that this really is a Western novel set in the Viking age.

A very ambitious, fun and well-written Western novel, but still; substitute long ships for cattle trails, Englishmen, Swedes and Khazars for Indians, kings for cavalry colonels, long swords for Colt revolvers, and posses for Not Gary Cooper, though.

It's a frontier novel, a novel set at a time when new land was being claimed both geographically and philosophically. And it's tremendously entertaining but at the same time occasionally disturbing in its frankness. As anachronistic as it is on some points more on that below , Bengtsson doesn't try to turn his hero into an enlightened 20th century man, and robbery, violence, rape and slavery are all seen as perfectly normal - though obviously something to be avoided where you yourself is concerned.

The protagonists are, at first, more concerned with what's possible than what's right; if you have more gold than us, and we have sharper swords than you, isn't it fair that we should, ahem, trade? And yet, underneath all the bawdy tales of kidnappings, beheadings, and bearded men dying with a macho one-liner in runic verse, obviously , there's more to it.

For starters, there's Bengtsson's language, which at least in the original, I can't speak for the translation is a marvel to read. Terse, dryly humorous and almost completely devoid of unnecessary adjectives, both his narration and his dialogue somehow manages to carry a feeling of the old sagas despite being written in 19th century Swedish which has about as much in common with Old Norse as Jane Austen does with Beowulf. It's a wilful anachronism, both for his own time and for Orm's, that's so obvious it seems to mean something; as if Bengtsson is deliberately setting them loose from the time they live in.

Then there's the time he sets it in, a time when everything was changing. Because the years around AD is when Scandinavia was christianised, and religion is the basis of many conflicts in the book; not only between pagans, Christians and Muslims, but also between hardliners the missionaries sent to convert the Norse by whatever means necessary, the pagans determined to stick to their old gods and the secularists most of the actual vikings.It is a scandalous thing to see a young girl so hot with lust.

When they are not out perpetrating murder and mayhem they are dreaming about it. There are great characters and some history, but it is the humour that I enjoyed most. Swiftly moving, endlessly entertaining, and brimming with historically accurate 10th-century flavor, this recounts in Norse saga fashion the adventures of Orm Tostesson aka "Red Orm" , beginning with his capture as a young lad by Vikings, where, initially taken as a slave, he quickly proves his mettle and is initiated into the group as one of their own, and is eventually elected chieftain.

Wars, brutal sea battles, heads fall faster than bowling balls hitting pins, later an escape from an unfriendly situation, with a treasure, joining a Viking expedition on his own boat Yet constant Viking raids even against their own people in this turbulent, dangerous times never stop; he is captured by enemies and fights the Moors in Spanish waters and becomes a galley slave, then a prestigious bodyguard to the great Muslim ruler there Almansur , and that is just the beginning.

External-identifier urn: In my estimation, and that of many others, he succeeded; he has also been fortunate in having found a good translator, and the English edition, though not quite as fine as the Swedish original, does not fall far short.

Joan Klein noted that "Within the 10th Century plot, the book's Viking protagonists never heard of Jews, and have a completely open mind about them - and when encountering a Jew who allies with the Vikings and leads them to treasure beyond their dreams, they are duly grateful

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