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The Norseman by Jason Born

The Norseman (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Jason Born

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244443,774 (3.44)None
Title:The Norseman
Authors:Jason Born
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012), Paperback, 284 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Viking, norseman, adventure, fiction, self-published

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The Norseman by Jason Born (2010)

  1. 00
    The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (Limelite)
    Limelite: Read this. Never mind that. Much better book on every level of the same period in Viking history.

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This is the first of a series of novels centred on the exploits of a fictional Viking, Halldorr Olafsson, whose tale is weaved into a narrative drawn from the Sagas, especially that of Leif Ericsson, who later on in real life founded the first Viking colony in America. While Leif is Halldorr's companion of his youth, the most influential person in his life grows to be Olaf Tryggvason, whom he calls his third father. The author cites Bernard Cornwell as a key influence and indeed this novel bears a lot of similarity to Cornwell's Viking series, now totalling nine novels (of which I've read seven so far). I am always somewhat ambiguous about novels with Vikings as the central characters, given that their worldview and casual use of slaughter and destruction as a way of life is pretty hard to relate to, being thinly justified here by statements that if the tables were turned, their victims would be doing the same things to them. This a a good read, though, with some impressive set piece scenes, and some moving and tragic episodes in among the general slaughter and mayhem. The characters are well described as well, many of them being three dimensional and rising above stock warrior/peasant/slave cliches. Born has done his research well and, while I was initially a little sceptical after reading his introduction, I will very probably follow this series (five books so far, apparently). ( )
  john257hopper | Sep 16, 2016 |
The author's style and voice just didn't work well for me. I'm sure it works well for others, and I love this sort of story, it's just that this one wasn't for me. ( )
  bicyclewriter | Jan 8, 2016 |
I had a lot of fun reading this one. The storyline itself is very entertaining and moves along a good pace while still giving the reader time to settle in between exciting portions and really get to know the characters. But what really made this book so interesting was all of the history that the author has woven in with his fictional storyline. Characters and events from the time period appear here and there and and an extra richness to events. I also could tell that Mr. Born really did his homework and presented the lives of the principle characters very accurately and gave the reader a window into how things may really have been in those times.


On a personal note, as a former literature student, I especially appreciated being able to experience The Battle of Maldon first hand. I had to stop reading on the book at that point and dig out my old lit book to re-read the poem of The Battle of Maldon that I read in one of my British Literature classes. Kudos on that one!


Overall a good historical adventure that I'd highly recommend! ( )
  StefanY | Jan 31, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book is mostly battle, blood, and gore, interspersed with council, filthy living conditions, bone-numbing cold, hunting, and sex. I’m not so much reading it as flipping through it.

Historically, it’s fairly fascinating since it takes place in the 900s and early 1000s. Tidbits of Viking ways of life and warfare, such as rafting together groups of Viking ships in a flotilla prior to battle, were news to me. However, this is a book full of incident but bereft of scope.

The characterizations are so similar and unvarying that reading the story makes it seem that a single many-headed, multi-armed Viking is running all over the scenes. Dialogue is simple and not self-revelatory as probably suits the illiterate warrior characters. I don't pretend to imagine self-reflection, auto-analysis, and introspection were appropriate to this class of people at this time in history. But it doesn’t make for compelling story as Born has written it. ( )
  Limelite | Nov 21, 2013 |
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