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VIKING Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction

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Aug 22, 2007, 4:27pm Top

I just finished a trilogy series by Tim Severin called VIKING. If you like and or enjoy this type of Historical Fiction...I cannot recommend it enough. I was very impressed with his writing style, the information researched that he dropped in the book and of course the story was a great long adventure! It was wonderful!

Aug 23, 2007, 7:22am Top

Have you read Bernard Cornwell's last kingdom series?

l loved it, 3 books so far and I think more are coming.

Oct 3, 2007, 9:21am Top

Guy Gavriel Kay Last Light of the Sun is very much a Viking story--although I think of and classify his works as fantasy there is a historical background lurking in many of his books. Even better, he is a wonderful writer!

Oct 3, 2007, 9:29am Top

The only one I'm familiar with is A Thrall's Tale which is a multi-POV novel that reportedly has 10 years of meticulous reserarch to back it up. While reading it, I turned to a couple of factual books about Viking history & customs and it appears that the research is dead on. Of course, I'm not an expert, but what I could check out checked out.

Touchstones dead as usual.

Oct 3, 2007, 9:46am Top

The ice shirt was a Vollmann-esque take on the Viking's "discovering" America ... it was excellent.

Edited: Oct 4, 2007, 10:54am Top

Viking chick lit: The Thrall's Tale by Judith Lindbergh

Oct 3, 2007, 10:33am Top

Chick lit? Really? I had no idea chicks were into humiliation, violence, revenge, grinding poverty and rape.

Oct 4, 2007, 8:17am Top

Don't forget the old classic: The Long Ships; a Saga of the Viking Age
by Frans G. Bengtsson

Oct 4, 2007, 10:55am Top

7> They're into surviving it.

Oct 4, 2007, 11:57am Top

I guess that's true, but lumping this in with The Devil Wears Prada is a bit of a stretch.

Oct 5, 2007, 5:03pm Top

There is a book called Thunder God by Paul Watkins. It is not as great as Tim Severin's trilogy but it is entertaining nonetheless. I found The Thrall's Tale quite boring actually. I don't know, I just could not get into it.

Oct 5, 2007, 5:07pm Top

Has anyone read Corsair by Tim Severin yet?

13clairabella09 First Message
Oct 9, 2007, 12:18am Top

I'll have to check out the books you mention; I'm a big fan of the early medieval period. When I was in high school, I really enjoyed Sword Song by Rosemary Sutcliff, a fantastic writer of young adult historical fiction. Most of her work focuses on Britain, but Sword Song was about the Vikings. Even though it's a young adult book, I'd recommend it.

Oct 9, 2007, 7:34am Top

Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter which follows the activities of the historical MacBeth is awfully good as well.

Oct 24, 2007, 3:42pm Top

I somehow stumbled across The Long Ships and, ordered a copy, entirely on the basis of hearing that Bengtsson was a very well respected Swedish author. (Some of the Viking stuff I came across struck me as typical historical trash.) Unfortunately, the only copy I could find is so poorly printed that I nearly lost my eyesight reading it. I did love it, however. Bengtsson's knowledge of the period combined with his very dry wit really carried me along.

Nov 21, 2007, 12:38pm Top

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I have written an historical novel titled Legend of the Last Vikings - Taklamakan which is Action and Adventure from Norway, along the Silk Route into China’s notorious Taklamakan desert!

I have a free copy to give away to the first person to contact me in exchange for a review.

The book was a Finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards

Synopsis: As the Viking age is brought to an end in 1066 with ignominious defeat at the battle of Stamford Bridge, a rag-tag group of Vikings conclude the quiet life is not for them and they decide to go-a-Viking one last time.

They retrace a journey of their youth across the European Steppe and down the mighty Dniepr river to Byzantium. However a chance discovery in a Kiev library leads them to venture even further afield - to Astrakhan, across the Caspian sea, up the mighty Oxus river, through Parthia and Bactria and along the ancient Silk Route into Asia and Tian Xia (China).

Engaged in a battle not of their choosing, they inflict fatalities on the sinister and evil Black Scorpions who want to exact their revenge. Pursued, they flee by night across the Roof of the World and meet the remnants of the "lost" European tribe of Asia, the Hepthalites, who offer them protection in their city, hidden in the Tien Shan - the Celestial Mountains. A place where romance is kindled and love unexpectedly blossoms.

During their winter sojourn in the Hidden City they gather more clues, and in the spring continue with their quest, on into the Taklamakan desert. The desert so called by locals because those who venture in seldom venture out. More danger and peril lies in wait for this rag-tag Viking crew as they travel along the Silk Route, the world's first super-highway.

At the eastern end of their journey they meet the Lang Ren, the Wolf people of Lou Lan, outcasts thieves and criminals living in an abandoned city in the desert. A city without water. A city about to die. A city in which the final clue to their quest is uncovered.

What fate awaits this rejected element of Asian society? Can this motley crew intercede on their behalf?

A beautifully bound 511 page hardback with historical companion, place name lexicon, character descriptions and maps. See www.VikingLegend.com

17belgrade18 First Message
Nov 24, 2007, 10:14am Top

Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead.

Edited: May 28, 2008, 11:37pm Top

Yorvik by Sheelagh Kelly is an interesting story of a Viking who flits between Norway and York - I found it difficult to sympathise with the main character though.

Hall of Sparrows is another good Viking yarn - the exploits of various members of a small band that settle in England.


19mwatson3 First Message
Dec 19, 2007, 1:19pm Top

Although for young adults, Henry Treece's Viking Trilogy is a nice unsentimental look at the Viking Age. He draws on a lot of the same sources as does Bengtsson. Worth checking out.

Jan 11, 2008, 12:48am Top

Has anyone heard of a book called Raven's Wind by Victor Canning? I believe it's a novel about an Anglo-Saxon that is captured by Vikings and raised into their culture. I'm assuming that he then becomes a Viking Raider along the English coast...that would seem like a good direction to take that storyline, anyhow. This book has been recommended to me, but I thought I'd ask the experts here at LT before buying it.

Jan 17, 2008, 5:16pm Top

DanoStone, I've never heard of that book but it sounds interesting, maybe you should take a chance and forget about hearing other people's opinions, because you might miss out if someone says its a crap book, lol.

22ShooterMcGavin First Message
Jan 29, 2008, 11:05am Top

Robert Low has started a Viking ficiton series. First book out is entitled "The Whale Road". Good read.

Feb 3, 2008, 7:02pm Top

I'm developing a new website on historical novels, and it includes a section on Vikings in the Medieval Europe page. I'd love to get feedback on the site. What have I missed?

You can check it out at www.historicalnovels.info.

Feb 7, 2008, 2:45pm Top

margad, thank you for that link, I've put in in my favorites list, can't wait to go through it more thoroughly!

Feb 9, 2008, 4:30pm Top

margad-- just the other day I made a mental note to pick up several historical novels by a certain author. I then (as usual) forgot the titles of the books and the author as well. A quick scan of your website, and I found what I was looking for...this time I wrote it all down! Thank you.

Feb 9, 2008, 9:16pm Top

That's wonderful! You can print off the site, too. Just use your cursor to highlight whatever section you want to print, and choose "print selection" when the print box comes up. Helpful for series novels!

Feb 29, 2008, 6:53pm Top

Nevil Shute actually wrote a Viking novel called An Old Captivity -- well, simultaneously Viking and modern. I rather liked it.

Mar 17, 2008, 9:02pm Top

margad took a peek very nice will go thru later,but i didnt see any thing on asia or east asia middle east at various time periods. they are hard to faind in general if you come across any plaese make seporite section if poss. thanks

Mar 18, 2008, 6:04pm Top

Looking outside historical fiction to more humor and fantasy both Who's Afraid of Beowulf and The Drawing of the Dark offer Vikings brought to life for battles in times later than their own.

Mar 19, 2008, 12:51pm Top

Thanks, bishoplogan! A Latin America page is now up (though it seems short to me - I want to find other books for this page, if they're out there), and I'm developing separate pages on Asia, India, the Middle East and Africa. I'm also planning a WWII page and a separate page for the 20th century before and between the World Wars.

Mar 20, 2008, 11:02pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Mar 21, 2008, 11:01pm Top

So glad you're enjoying the site, BrainFlakes! There's a link, also, to Cornwell's own website. Check out the Authors page and go to "C". He tells a nice story about how he got into writing fiction in the first place - though it doesn't begin to explain how he got so good at it.

I make a few improvements and additions just about every day. Today I added a contact page, so people can let me know if I've missed a favorite novel of theirs.

Mar 23, 2008, 5:59pm Top

Just finished Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King which touches on Vikings. A decent read, but does not hold a candle to the intensity of Dorothy Dunnett King Hereafter, (that postulates a Viking Macbeth).

Mar 23, 2008, 7:01pm Top

Concur, King Hereafter hard to beat indeed! One of my faves.

Mar 26, 2008, 1:00am Top

I quite liked King Hereafter but did prefer Nigel Tranter's Macbeth the King for a novelisation of that period.

I think that in the end, having had Macbeth and Thorfinn as two seperate characters in Tranter's novel, I had trouble with seeing them combined in Dunnett's story.


Apr 15, 2008, 9:24am Top

I'm so excited to find this thread. I love Viking history. I am currently reading my son's arc, The Strongbow Saga, Book Three: The Road to Vengeance while he is in school. Since it's the third in a series I wonder if anyone else here has read either of the first 2 books, The Strongbow Saga, Book One: Viking Warrior or The Strongbow Saga, Book Two: Dragons from the Sea. They're supposed to be teen historical fiction, but I find them to be more appropriate as young adult.

Apr 15, 2008, 9:34am Top


I have heard of these books and know a couple people that have read it, though I have not gotten to it yet, myself. One of the readers was a teen...somewhere in the 14-16 year old range. He seemed to like the stories. The other was in her early twenties and she really liked them as well. So it sounds to me as if they are at least appealing to both teens and young adults (what exactly is the cut off for YA, anyhow?)

Sorry my info is only second hand, but I figured some info was better than no info. Happy reading :)

Edited: Apr 15, 2008, 5:06pm Top

>37 DanoWins:, In my opinion, YA is written with the majority of the characters, or at least the point of view coming from a 14-25 year old.

Not to have the anti-censorship police jump all over me, but the reason I feel The Strongbow Saga, Book Three: The Road to Vengeance is more appropriate for ages 16+ is that the first 100 pages deal with the main character, Halfdan, keeping his captive, Genevieve, safe from being sold or taken from him as a concubine or otherwise deflowered, as the author puts it. She is then sold back to her father for a ransom and Halfdan is relieved. I just felt it was a mature theme to be taken on by a more mature reader than, let's say, a 12 year old.

Apr 16, 2008, 10:58am Top

>37 DanoWins:

Every library I have been to that uses the term "young adult" actually uses it to mean "teen," which is unfortunately awkward because it means people have to explain that they're talking about people of traditional college student age if that's the actual subject. (Here I'm thinking of a presentation at the American Library Association annual convention last year.) Of course not every YA/teen book is going to be appropriate for the entire audience age 12-18, just as any given children's book isn't necessarily going to be appropriate for 5 year olds and 10 year olds at the same time.

>38 awriterspen:, I think that the rest of the anti-censorship police would agree with me that as long as you aren't going to try to prevent twelve-year-olds whom you are not personally raising from reading a book, nobody is going to jump all over you for suggesting that maybe it's more appropriate for the older portion of the YA audience. Say that it's not ultimately up to the twelve-year-old and his or her parents to decide and then you'll have a problem.

Edited: May 26, 2008, 5:06pm Top

Although it is on the border between the mythological Viking/Saga era and the historical era, they really broke the mold after Poul Anderson's rendering of Hrolf Kraki's Saga. Very powerful story. Also in that vein is The Broken Sword. In the more historical realm, Anderson's telling of the story of Harald Hardrede, the so-called "Last of the Vikings" who died trying to conquer England, begins with The Golden Horn.

The Long Ships of course. The Saga of Erik Brighteyes is lesser known but fun. The Thrall of Leif the Lucky. Byzantium by Lawhead is a romp.

May 30, 2008, 5:26pm Top

margad - I shouldn't go to sites like yours. I find much too many books I want to read.

But it is a great site.

Jun 2, 2008, 8:36am Top

Another beautiful book is The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone - absolutely stunning...

Jun 5, 2008, 8:24pm Top

Xenchu, if you're finding too many books you want to read on my site, imagine what it's like putting it together! My TBR list has become totally unmanageable.

Jun 7, 2008, 9:10am Top

Good morning mates from a swampy Maryland,
I've enjoyed two Viking novels from author Robert Low, The Whale Road and The Wolf Sea (ok Touchstones, you win again!). Low has a website: http://www.robert-low.com/
and is working on a third volume THE WHITE RAVEN. Low is also a reenactor and has some nice pics on his blog from Pictavia! Cheers,

Jun 25, 2008, 11:29pm Top

Here's a list that might be helpful:

• Poul Anderson, Hrolf Kraki's Saga

• Poul Anderson, Mother of Kings

• Poul Anderson, War of the Gods: The Epic Saga of Hadding

• Victor Canning, Raven's Wind

• Joan Clark, Eiriksdottir: A Tale of Dreams and Luck

• Eric R. Eddison, Styrbiorn the Strong

• Margaret Elphinstone, The Sea Road

• Cecelia Holland, Two Ravens

• Jeff Janoda, Saga: A Novel of Medieval Iceland, set in medieval Iceland

• Bernard King, Starkadder

• Bernard King, Vargr-Moon

• Bernard King, Death-Blinder

• Robert Low, The Wolf Sea, #2 in the Oathsworn series

• Robert Low, The White Raven, #3 in the Oathsworn series; coming in 2009

• Stuart W. Mirsky, The King of Vinland's Saga, about the Viking expedition to Vinland on the American continent

• Judson Roberts, Viking Warrior, #1 in the Strongbow Saga

• Judson Roberts, Dragons from the Sea, #2 in the Strongbow Saga

• Jane Smiley, Greenlanders

• Sigrid Undset, Gunnar's Daughter

• Sigrid Undset, The Wreath, #1 in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy

• Sigrid Undset, The Mistress of Husaby, #2 in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy

• Sigrid Undset, The Cross, #3 in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy

• William Vollmann, The Ice Shirt, #1 in the Seven Dreams series

• Paul Watkins, Thunder God

Steven Till

Edited: Nov 21, 2008, 7:04pm Top

There's now a special, separate page just for Medieval Scandinavia and the Vikings at my Historical Novels website. Here's the direct link: www.HistoricalNovels.info/Medieval-Scandinavia.

Nov 22, 2008, 3:59pm Top

Pope Joan, by Donna Woolfolk Cross, also has Vikings in it, though they only appear briefly, and in England.

Nov 25, 2008, 3:07pm Top

There is a young adult/children's book called Horned Helmet by Henry Treece that is absolutely fantastic, well told and enthralling. I still enjoy reading it as an adult.

Apr 27, 2009, 7:37pm Top

I have the book, I liked it, I didn't think it was great but I did try to find other books by Victor Canning

May 27, 2009, 9:32pm Top

I love his Viking Saga collection, read it when I was young, have a couple copies, would love for them to make a movie at least out of the first two of the trilogy. I've bought many of Treece's books on Amazon.

May 21, 2010, 2:47pm Top

The Raven & the Wolf: Blood Oath is a historical fiction novel set in the dark ages on the isle of Britain. It is the first in a three to four part series that chronicles the tumultuous relationship between two rival brothers.

More Info: http://christopher-spellman.net/

Fans of Bernard Cornwell might find this a good read. Historically, its true to the 10th century during the reign of King Athelstan, who is considered by many historians to be the first ruler of a united Britain. The battle that is often cited as being that which settled the fate of England as a unified nation plays an integral role in the story.

May 22, 2010, 8:06am Top

The Fated Sky is a very good book that I have read twice. It is labeled as YA, but besides it being shorter than most adult books would be and the main character being around 16, there is not much about it that is juvenile.

Also, the main character is a girl, which I loved. Most Viking stories are about the men.

May 22, 2010, 11:00am Top

Both of these books are a but hard to find, but they are:

The King's Daughter, by penny Ingham (also published as Lady of the Mercians, and Jorvik, by Sheelagh Kelly.

May 22, 2010, 11:01am Top

Oh, and then there's A Hollow Crown, by Helen Hollick, set in England during the last of the Viking invasions, right before the Norman Conquest.

Edited: Jun 3, 2010, 7:03pm Top

I have been throwing myself into Viking Fiction since the beginning of the year to tie in with my wargaming

I have read Two Ravens and Kings in Winter by Cecelia Holland;

The White Raven by Robert Low;

Raven: Blood Eye and Sons of Thunder by Giles Kristian;

The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, The Lords of the North, Sword Song and The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell

Viking: Odinn's Child, Viking: Sworn Brother and Viking: King's Man by Tim Severin

I must say that I love the Robert Low series and found the Cornwell series very absorbing. I found it hard to sympathise with Hollands main characters. Giles Kristian writes a good yarn and I like them, but they are very similar to Robert Low's stories and so suffer by comparison. Tim Severin seamlessly wove so many Norse and Celtic Stories around one central character which made it a great saga, but the action was very low level.


May 29, 2010, 2:11pm Top

Torill Thorstad Hauger (1943- ) Røvet av vikinger

Book for teenagers, sth like "Kidnapped by Vikings", maybe never translated into English.

May 29, 2010, 3:28pm Top

#55; as usual concurring with Macbeth; both Two Ravens & Kings in Winter very good(grim and depressing but good); I have all 4 of the Robert Low The Oathsworn series...excellent!

May 29, 2010, 4:42pm Top

Another possibility is Sun Circle by Neil Gunn. It's about Vikings raiding in Scotland. It is also rather grim, but I think it was probably realistic. It's been quite a few years since I read it.

May 30, 2010, 12:34am Top

Dead jealous of you Ammianus as I think the latest in the Oathsworn series is not available in Australia yet.


May 30, 2010, 2:52pm Top

#59. You'll have fun once they do arrive MAC. I think he's growing as a writer. Some very thoughtful passages (and of course there's still plenty of action!).

Edited: Jun 6, 2010, 7:13pm Top

First Impressions of The Vikings, Blood Sacrifice by Neil Langholm are that it isn't much of a story. I picked it up in a $10 for a shopping bag full of books at the Lifeline Book Fair so it cost me less than a pittance. It is a 1970s Blood & Guts pulp series and I only have to wade through 156 pages :)


Jun 5, 2010, 11:39pm Top

Warriors of the Way
One Kings Way
King and Emperor

By Harry Harrison were excellent.

Jul 21, 2010, 2:44pm Top

#23- margad- Oh my I should never have gone to your site!;)
I just added a whole bunch of books to my wishlist!

Jul 22, 2010, 10:38pm Top

Loki's Daughters starts awkwardly, but it gets REALLY good really fast. S valley of Celtic women whose men have all been killed or taken by Vikings finds itself host to a boat load of Northmen who are farmers and artisans.. the book does a brilliant job of showing the miscommunications, the underlying emotions, and is terribly well constructed. I downloaded it from Smashwords.com.

I also really enjouyed Byzantium and Belt of Gold which both center on Berangians. So does Shards of Empire whcih isn't as good but has a Viking wereworlf in it...

For a hoot read Dragon at the Center of the World.

Nan Hawthorne, Author of An Involuntary King: A Tale of Anglo Saxon England which I am sorry to say takes place before the Viking raids.

Jul 22, 2010, 10:41pm Top

Correction... I think that should have been Dragon at the Edge of the World.


Edited: Apr 30, 2011, 2:05am Top

I greatly enjoyed the Strongbow Saga by Judson Roberts even though they are published as YA, as previously mentioned. I found the story to be quite engaging. A great series with lots of action and adventure but perhaps a bit less heavy on the gore factor than some others mentioned in the list. Highly recommended
Viking Warrior, Dragons from the Sea, and The Road to Vengance.

Edited: Jul 19, 2011, 7:24pm Top

Having recently read Giles Kristian's lastest offering Odin's Wolves the series is really growing on me. The fourth in Robert Low's Oathsworn Series The Prow Beast is also excellent.

For Viking Fantasy there is also Starkadder and Vargr-Moon by Bernard King of which I read and enjoyed the second one.


Edited: Jul 19, 2011, 8:48pm Top

I am convinced that the Robert Low Oathsworn series which has been mentioned is by far the best 'Viking age' series I've ever read. I recommend it highly. In case it wasn't mentioned, it starts with The Whale Road.

Aug 29, 2011, 10:46am Top

Well that's added about 40 books to my TBR pile :)

Sep 7, 2011, 12:34pm Top

Late comer to this site. Nice to see folks have not forgotten some of the older titles in this genre. May I presume to add Edison Marshall's THE VIKING? Not deathless fiction but a good read. I did not see it listed in the messages. This is the one adapted for the screen in the Kirk Douglas film "The Vikings".
The number of Lost Race novels having to do with the Norsemen are many. Of recent re-publication is the Farnham Bishop & Arthur G. Brodeur novel: IN THE GRIP OF THE MINOTAUR. Completely out of whack, historically, but a fun read if you enjoy the old pulps.

Sep 27, 2011, 2:02pm Top

This is probably going to be a long shot but what they hey. My wife and I were talking about Viking historical fiction and a memory surfaced of a book I read way back in junior high (as part of the curriculum) that centred on a young, spindly fellow who was trying hard to fit into the ways of his Viking village and wound up under the protective wing of the local "witch". I think it was called "Food of the Gods" but when I tried to investigate it I found zero (at least in regards to Viking life). Has anyone read this or know of it? We read it for class back in the mid-70s if that helps. Thanks to any and all!!

Sep 28, 2011, 11:42pm Top

try the "Name That Book" for help.

Oct 1, 2011, 10:59am Top

Your wargaming colleagues have a similar thread going: (I see lots of overlap):


Oct 1, 2011, 11:43pm Top

Didn't see one of my favorites: The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay. Typical of Kay it has elements of both poetry and the fantastic, but is recognizably Viking in inspration.

Apr 14, 2012, 8:28pm Top

And in more good news it seem that Robert Low is about to release another book in his Oathsworn series. Can't wait to get my hands on Crowbone

Woo Hoo

Sep 2, 2012, 4:06am Top

I have just finished Meadowland by Thomas Holt which was a very entertaining narrative of the various Viking attempts to colonise America as told through the eyes of two aged Varangian Guardsmen who had been on all the journeys to Vinland/Meadowland.


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