The prose literature of medieval Iceland is a great world treasure - elaborate, various, strange, profound, and as eternally current as any of the other great literary treasures - the Homeric epics, Dante's Divine Comedy, the works of William Shakespeare or of any modern writer you could name. Mysteries surround these stories - how were they composed and by whom? what were the motives of the authors? Why were they written in prose when the currency of medieval literature was poetry? How did their contemporaries understand them - did they even read them, or did they hear them read aloud? But the questions fall away as we read the sagas and tales themselves. They are written with such immediacy and forthrightness and they concern such basic human dilemmas that for the most part they are readily accessible and seductive. Reading one creates the appetite for another and another. In the present volume, Penguin has drawn upon the newly translated and edited Complete Sagas of Icelanders to offer the English-speaking reader a rich selection of Icelandic prose. Long and short, complex and simple, fantastic and realistic - there is a taste of everything here, an abundant introduction to a world a thousand years separated from ours, both intensely familiar and intensely strange.