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Swords of Good Men (The Valhalla Saga) by…

Swords of Good Men (The Valhalla Saga) (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Snorri Kristjansson

Series: The Valhalla Saga (1)

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914258,762 (3.22)7
Pausing at the Viking town of Stenvik, Ulfar Thormodsson is forced to confront a band of deadly men at the same time King Olav's march on Stenvik is met by a host of raiders under the leadership of a mysterious woman from the north.
Title:Swords of Good Men (The Valhalla Saga)
Authors:Snorri Kristjansson
Info:Jo Fletcher Books (2013), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2014 challenge

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Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson (2013)


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Showing 4 of 4
This is basically the Viking version of 300, full of epic acts of manly cunning and violence and manliness. It's full of richly drawn characters set in opposition to each other, and nicely written (though I found the cinematic-style intercutting of sometimes very short scenes to be rather disruptive to a smooth reading experience). In that regard, it's probably a four-star book.

However, there are only three female characters in the entire book: a woman in a man's job who's out-manning the men at it, a battered wife who is being rescued by a newly arrived warrior, and an evil enchantress. Out of curiosity, I looked up the history of King Olav who brought Norway forcibly to Christianity, and there was a note about a woman who refused to marry him if it meant giving up her own gods, was smacked for her temerity, and then proceeded to unify Olav's enemies against him. That is a story I'm interested in reading. Just saying. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
At first I will admit it's not the historical for everyone. This is about war, fighting, a siege, death. You get the idea.

Ulfar comes with his cousin to Stenvik. And he is not the only one. King Olav is coming there too, and others to plunder and kill. But before that Ulfar falls for a mystery woman (yes those things can never end well). And we gets to see the tension in the city. It was a brutal time after all.

The raiders and King do not come at once. We get to see city life, the raiders planning and King Olav telling people his way or the highway. Yeah, I have never been a fan of those who say this religion is better, follow it or die. So I can't really be on his side then. Go back to your heathen ways Norway.

Ulfar, he was interesting. Because he starts of, not naive, but in a way yes. He grows and see the bloody side of things. It's not like he is a stranger to fighting but things will get messy in this town.

Vikings as they were. A time of Thor vs White Christ. Tensions in society and like always, people doing things they should not do.

And the end, rather evil wasn't it? I will not tell you but it certainly made me wonder what Ulfar is up to next. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
Very enjoyable read. Good tricky plot backed up by well developed characters. If you've been watching Vikings, pick this up. ( )
  libgirl69 | Oct 14, 2014 |
It’s got Vikings in it, hundreds of Vikings. Sneaky ones, berserking ones, old wily ones, poisoners and sneak thieves and bloodthirsty warriors, ones that follow the old ways and ones on a crusade for the new. I am really not sure what else I need to say. I mean it’s got Vikings in it. If you like Vikings then err… you will like this book. I know I did.

Ok ok for those on the Viking fence. Then this is a fantasy-lite , slow burning tale culminating in one huge, very cool battle between Vikings!. For forces are on the move, the old gods demand respect and vengeance against a Christian god whose armies march ever onward towards a new future. The town of Stenvik is caught in the middle, between the longships seeking to burn it for its insolence and the army seeking to convert it by the sword.

The characters are (mostly) a joy, a multitude of Viking types and Kristjannsson’s love of them shines through, they are hugely fun to read about, to be in their company (plus inventive swearing, yay!). I said mostly though because there are three problems. First there are a multitude and it is a bit confusing and sometimes the story speeds past some of them. Second the few truly bad apples seemed a bit flat because of all that lovely non black and white characterisation. Third, women. Well ok Vikings but just 3? A witch, an abused wife/love interest and a foul mouthed warrior. Ok ok I really loved the last one, she makes up for it. Then again at this point of my reading I am pretty fed up with women being raped now. I know, I know, Vikings. But sigh.

The pacing is odd but on balance I think it works. It takes a while to get going and this being a debut you have to trust it will come off, that it won’t just stop and say “go buy the sequel”. Be relieved it doesn’t, lovers of battles and sieges will be happy as a Viking in Valhalla. It’s a great and fabulous battle and worth the build-up. Sometimes I wondered who to root for but that just makes me smile. Of course the ending feels slightly ill-fitting (minor non-specific spoiler) its seems a little too much into the darkness and too quickly done, a forced feel but I hate grim dark so what do I know? Still I will miss certain characters, sniff.

Still I really enjoyed and look towards a sequel with interest. Recommended to all Viking lovers everywhere. ( )
1 vote clfisha | Jan 26, 2014 |
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To my wife and family. Thank you.
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Pausing at the Viking town of Stenvik, Ulfar Thormodsson is forced to confront a band of deadly men at the same time King Olav's march on Stenvik is met by a host of raiders under the leadership of a mysterious woman from the north.

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