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Who's Afraid of Beowulf? (1988)

by Tom Holt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Modern Mythology (2)

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6771228,695 (3.79)18
The last Norse king of Caithness, Hrolf Earthstar and his 12 champions are woken from a centuries-long sleep when an archaeologist finds their grave. He decides to carry on his ancient war against the Sourcerer-King, and must face such perils as BBC film crews and the Bakerloo line along the way.
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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
As with the other Holt book I've read, this is actual quality comic fiction. I loved the main characters, and it felt very natural to read. ( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
This was my first Holt novel and I enjoyed it. It was like an urban fantasy Dicworld.

I really liked that the Vikings weren't impressed by the modern world or any of the tech which they already had through magic.

Hildy wanted to say ‘I’m not sure’, but she realised that the man was being sarcastic, which was the last thing she expected. ‘I’m Hildy Frederiksen,’ she mumbled, aware that in all this vastness and mystery that one small fact could have little significance. Still, she wanted it put on record before it was wiped out of her mind.
‘Well, now,’ said the leader, still sarcastic but with a hint of sympathy in his voice, ‘you shouldn’t have told me that, should you? After all, when strangers meet by night on the fells, they should not disclose their names, nor the names of their fathers, until they have tested each other’s heart with shrewd enquiry.’
Then his face seemed to relax a little behind the fixed scowl of his visor. ‘Don’t ask me why, mind. It’s just the rule.’

Something the King had said about magic had started her thinking and, although her idea was scarcely distinguishable from healthy American paranoia, that was not in itself a reason for discarding it. God, guts and paranoia made America great.


He had never believed in God or any other sort of conspiracy theory, and he could never summon up enough credulity to be entertained by spy thrillers. But even he had sometimes wondered about the telelogy of his own particular field of interest. All computer programmers have at some stage come face to face with the one and only metaphysical question of what happens to all the stuff that gets swallowed by the computer.



The only criticism is that none of the characters were really devloped except Hildy, and even her not so much. If you're looking for a good fun read this is a good start. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Quick, charming, and relaxing, this book’s title lies. The actual book has little-to-nothing to do with Beowulf. Instead, it is an example of the very rare Fantasy/Comedy story. It is also surprisingly gentle considering that it involves a busload of Vikings and an evil immortal wizard.
Highly recommended for fans of Douglas Adams, particularly “Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency”, as this was more like that than anything else I’ve ever read.
( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
A delightful confection of a story. This is pure indulgent fun, and I absolutely love it, historicity be damned.

(But then, I am also short and mean well.) ( )
1 vote RJ_Stevenson | Aug 19, 2020 |
Hrolf Earthstrar, last Norse king of Caithness, is wakened from his barrow with his twelve champion by Hildy Frederickson, young woman archaeologist, and resumes his war with the Sorceror King, Like Holt's Expecting Someone Taller, this neatly blends a real knowledge of old legends with modern British humor. ( )
  antiquary | Nov 5, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Holtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grace, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Someone had written 'godforsaken' between 'Welcome to' and 'Caithness' on the road sign.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The last Norse king of Caithness, Hrolf Earthstar and his 12 champions are woken from a centuries-long sleep when an archaeologist finds their grave. He decides to carry on his ancient war against the Sourcerer-King, and must face such perils as BBC film crews and the Bakerloo line along the way.

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