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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jan, 2005 6:10 pm    Post subject: For all of you viking fiction fans.......         Reply with quote



Here's a new book by Bernard Cornwell set in the 9th century. It looks to be a good read judging from the write-up. I'm a big fan of Cornwell's work. IMHO his Warlord Chronicles trilogy is the best fiction written on the Arthurian legends, and his Archer's Tale trilogy is excellent as well. I'll be looking for this one in paperback.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Gabriel Stevens




Location: St. Louis
Joined: 02 Oct 2003

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Sat 15 Jan, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I totally agree with the Warlord series Patrick, and I read Heretic just recently without realizing that it is the last book in that trilogy, it was still fantastic though. Cornwall's stuff seems to be the right blend of historical accuracy and theater, though I don't know if he'll ever top Richard Sharpe.
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David Jackson




Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Joined: 14 Oct 2004

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun 16 Jan, 2005 6:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've always been a big fan of Bernard Cornwell, so as soon as I heard this book was coming out I immediatly reserved a copy at the local library. As usual it was a great book and caused me do delve into some more research of that period. I did find that this book had a few similarities to Cornwells Arthurian series but not enough to put me off. I'm certainly looking forward to the next one. It is interesting that earlier in the year Guy Gavriel Kay published a fantasy novel based on the life of Alfred the Great.

Griffin
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D. Hetzel




Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 16 Jan 2005

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 16 Jan, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After lurking for some time now and reading through the sites contents I decided to finally participate on the forums. The humorous part is that my first post is on a thread about books. Laughing Out Loud Anyway, I have been reading the Patrick O'Brian series and am delighted with them. I do however, like the earlier time periods as well and have read a few Arthurian novels and have wanted to read more, but never got around to it. This book intrigues me. How accurate and detailed are this author's works?
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Gabriel Stevens




Location: St. Louis
Joined: 02 Oct 2003

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Sun 16 Jan, 2005 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Aubrey/Maturin books are just amazing. I've read the first four so far and I can't get enough. Luckily I only have sixteen more to go in the series.....Kay's books are wonderful too, though those are fantasy based around real time periods in our history.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Jan, 2005 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Last Kingdom is coming out in early February here is the U.S. I look forward to reading it. I've had a mixed reaction to Cornwell's novels. I loved the Warlord trilogy and thought it was the best thing about Arthur that I'd read. I also really liked the novel about Stonehenge. But I didn't much care for the Grail trilogy, and I got tired of seeing Sharpe recycling through the same character types and situations, book after book.
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David Jackson




Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Joined: 14 Oct 2004

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon 17 Jan, 2005 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cornwell's work is very detailed and well researched. I feel his strong suit is his battles. You get a real fighters eye view and a feeling that this is how it could have been. He has obviosly done a great deal of homework. Obviously in the Warlord series there was a lot of guesswork and making up of details but he based the tactics on actual accounts of other battles so they work from a stategic point of view. As an author though he still has to play with reality a bit to tell his story, he will confess in his notes at the end of the book how he has changed things and what he had to make up.

Griffin
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D. Hetzel




Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 16 Jan 2005

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon 17 Jan, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sounds good then. After reading these replies I do believe that I have another series of books to purchase now. Wink
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B. Fulton





Joined: 28 Dec 2004

Posts: 180

PostPosted: Wed 19 Jan, 2005 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sweet!

I'll have to recommend it to my SCA barony's Viking group (they have their own longship and are building a bigger one) too.



Cornwell's stuff is excellent.
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Gordon Clark




Location: Purcellville, VA
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jan, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For a semi-historic, semi-fantasy viking novel, I enjoyed The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Kay -
Anyone else read that one?

Gordon
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Shamsi Modarai




Location: On wuda bearwe, under actreo in žam eoršscręfe.
Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Reading list: 16 books

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Thu 07 Dec, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I went diving into the void and found this thread, and even though its over a year old I just had to make a comment ......


Quote:
For a semi-historic, semi-fantasy viking novel, I enjoyed The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Kay -
Anyone else read that one?


I have indeed read this book and thought it was beautifully written. Very haunting tale of the clash of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Viking-like cultures. It was fascinating to watch how each character's story intertwined with the others'. I like the fact that it makes nods to Alfred the Great's England, but never pretends to be historically accurate .....its focus is on the characters and the story. Guy Gavriel Kay is a talented word-smith. Happy


But as for the original topic of the thread, nothing beats this new series by Bernard Cornwell! (Well, except his Sharpe series of course!)

This past summer I read The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, and Lords of the North, which actually are set during the time of King Alfred the Great of Wessex. A few months before reading these books I had just finished The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte (another favorite series) about the end of Roman Britain. Reading about the "almost fall" of Anglo-Saxon England to the Danes made for an interesting juxtapostion. Happy

But about the books themeselves.....let me just say they are very engagingly written and each one of them left me salivating for the next book in the series. I especially enjoyed how Cornwell incorportated some very famous historical figures into the books while still making it seem (somewhat) plausible. Just like Sharpe, the main character Uhtred ends up participating in all kinds of important battles. Unlike Sharpe however, Uhtred doesn't have a company of "Chosen Men" and doesn't (yet) inspire that kind of loyalty, nor does he wish to. In fact, Uhtred is quite content with inspiring fear in the hearts of his enemies. (And he has quite a few enemies.....the plotline of much of the first three books centers around a blood feud.)

While Uhtred is probably not someone I would get along with in person......he is certainly one of the most fascinating and entertaining fictional characters I have encountered in a long time. I love how Uhtred just lives to fight and utterly revels in it. Like Sharpe, he knows nothing but fighting and finds domestic situations difficult and stifling. Like Sharpe, he is caught between two vastly different worlds (in this case, Pagan Dane and Christian Anglo-Saxon), and doesn't seem to fit into either. Like Sharpe, he is also very fond of the ladies. Wink Unlike Sharpe, however, Uhtred can be quite the bastard. He is even called "Uhtred-węre"or "Uhtred the Wicked." Yup, he's a bastard. But what a brazen, arse-kicking bastard he is! By witnessing the world through his eyes, as the reader I felt as if I were enduring his hardships and fighting his battles alongside of him. Makes me want to be a displaced Northumbrian lord who was raised by the Danes in 9th century England too! Razz


I'm too tired to do an in-depth review of this series......but if you are in the mood for a really fun read that is based on a fascinating historical time period, I HIGHLY recommend these books by Bernard Cornwell. I am of course biased towards them, since they contain two of my very favorite things in the whole world: Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. Oh, and shield-walls...and long-ships....and pattern-welded swords. *drool*


While not about Vikings, here are some other military/historically-based works of fiction that I drool over:

The Camulod Chronicles, by Jack Whyte (which I mentioned above).

The Chronicles themselves are very detailed and exciting reads, told from the perspectives of Merlyn's grandfather, Merlyn himself, Uther, and in the last two books, Clother the Frank (aka Lancelot). This is one of my favorite retellings of the Arthurian legend, simply because it doesn't actually retell the legend itself, but is a prequel to it. (In fact, the final book and the one and only that actually does take place during Arthur's reign also happens to be the one and only book that I found to fall short of the rest of the series. The rest, however, are must-reads!!!)

Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield.

This book is about the life of a humble Spartan squire, his beloved masters and comrades, and about the events leading up to the Battle of Thermopolyae. The battle itself is depicted, as well as the aftermath, in a very original manner. The homo-social bonding in this book, as well as the strong female characters, make it especially moving. This is literally one of the best books I have ever read![/i]

Wa biš žam že sceal of langože leofes abidan.

~ The Wife's Lament
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Jean Le-Palud




Location: France
Joined: 11 May 2005
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 152

PostPosted: Fri 08 Dec, 2006 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I loved every series by Bernard Cornwell and of course specially Uhtred's story . Seems that my concerns are exactly the same as yours Shamsi,

Quote:
I am of course biased towards them, since they contain two of my very favorite things in the whole world: Vikings and Anglo-Saxons.Oh, and shield-walls...and long-ships....and pattern-welded swords.


I highly recommend the reading of the "Viking" serie by Tim Severin which includes: "Sworn Brother", "Odinn's Child" and "King's Man". Through the life of the main character it's a large survey of viking era from Vinland and Iceland up to the Byzantine Empire.
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 305

PostPosted: Fri 08 Dec, 2006 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great thread! I love reading and it is great to get ideas on what to read next. Obrien is one of my 5 favorite authors of all time. I find myself re-reading the Aubrey/Maturin novels again and again. I haven't read any Cornwell other than the Sharpe's novels. I enjoyed them, but found the pattern of his entanglements with the opposite sex to be trying at times. I will definitely try this new series because I love the Viking era.

My thanks to all who have suggested books in this thread, keep the suggestions coming! I am taking notes! Big Grin
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Jim Adelsen
Industry Professional



Location: WI
Joined: 28 Dec 2005

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Fri 08 Dec, 2006 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I enjoyed Last Kingdom and Pale Horseman also. Looking forward to Lords of the North when it is out. Another author I would recommend is Poul Anderson. He has several Viking Age/migration era books that are my favorite historical fiction. War of the Gods is probably my favorite of his books. Holf Kraki is another must read though it is out of print. And well you gotta read Mother of Kings also.
www.viking-shield.com
www.thevikingmuseum.com
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Shamsi Modarai




Location: On wuda bearwe, under actreo in žam eoršscręfe.
Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Reading list: 16 books

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Fri 08 Dec, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean ~ Thanks for the recommendations. I have heard of those books, but wasn't sure if they were good since no one I knew had ever read them. I'm glad to hear they are worth reading. I will definitely check them out sometime soon. I am going to be in Iceland for the next six months, so I suppose reading about Vikings will be quite fitting to the territory! Big Grin

But first, I am about to read some things out of the huge piles fiction I have accquired over the past year, and will be happy to review more books on this thread once I finish them. Its soo nice having some time off between my degrees. Ironically, I never had time to read while I was in school. At least not much in the way of good fiction.....

Allen ~ Don't worry about the "opposite sex" entanglements in Uhtred's story. They are not the main focus at all. Uhtred is far from a sappy romantic, and the women he encounters throughout the story only reinforce that fact! Don't get me wrong, he is capable of feeling love, but he is definitely not soft-hearted nor does the story ever begin to resemble a scene from a romance novel. (Not that there is anything wrong with romance novels, but I have feeling most guys on this board don't want their war fiction mixed up with that. Wink )

Jim ~ I live in the States, but I was so impatient to read the next book in the series that I ordered it from Amazon.co.uk. If you are really impatient for The Lords of the North, you can easily order it from England. My copy arrived in just a week! But if the next book is out here soon, then don't worry about it I guess. Just a suggestion. (Thanks for your book recommendations, by the way! I'll check if Amazon has any used copies.)

Happy reading, everyone! Happy

Wa biš žam že sceal of langože leofes abidan.

~ The Wife's Lament


Last edited by Shamsi Modarai on Fri 08 Dec, 2006 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Fri 08 Dec, 2006 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll second the recommendation on author Guy Gavriel Kay. In a genre that is often trite and formulaic I find his writing style almost ethereal and quite interesting. A breath of fresh air compared to most other offerings.

I read Tha Last Kingdom and enjoyed it very much. I plan on reading Pale Horseman when I can find it in paperback. I love Cornwells writing style. He botchs some of the technical details of the hard kit his characters use but he's far better than most in that regard. I do love his sense of character development.
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Matt Phillips




Location: England
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

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PostPosted: Fri 08 Dec, 2006 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been a Cornwell fan for years and years as I seem to soak up every book he writes. For those interested in the Norman Invasion timeframe I highly recommend Harold the King by Helen Hollick. It's a quite good work of fiction with a very good account of the battle of Hastings.
Matt

"Mine honour is my life; both grow in one; take honour from me and my life is done." William Shakespear
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Jean Le-Palud




Location: France
Joined: 11 May 2005
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 152

PostPosted: Sat 09 Dec, 2006 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jim,
I found some comments in french regarding Poul Anderson and it appears that his books are rather fantasy than close of historical accuracy, at least the covers of the books look like fantasy (winged helmet on the cover of Hrolf Kraki's Saga !).
What is your opinion ?

Patrick,
You are late, I have already read The Pale Horseman and The Lords Of The North, it's worth waiting for them...
And I hope a fourth book soon.

Has anyone heard of or read: Anglo-Saxon And Viking Britain, by Alex Woolf, september 2006 ?
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Mel Creery




Location: Virginia
Joined: 05 Dec 2006

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 11 Dec, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Haven't tried Cornwell..I'll give him a try...Loved the Aubrey/Maturin books..Kind of a shame there couldn't have been one or two more...

As for Viking Fiction, I enjoyed "The Thirteenth Warrior" by Michael Crichton...enjoyed the movie too...I always remembered a passage concerning observations on Norse first-aid/triage methods in which a belly-wounded warrior was given onion soup to drink..if one smelled onions near the wound it was a sure bet the fallen hero would soon die...
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 256

PostPosted: Tue 12 Dec, 2006 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Poul Anderson wrote fantasy, science fiction, and some very good, historically based tales of the Norsemen. His Hrolf Kraki Saga and his three volume Harald Hardraada bio entitled, The Golden Viking are superb. They are based upon what history we have of these people and, in the case of Hrolf Kraki, on his saga. Do not ever judge a book by the cover art as the author has absolutely no control over what is put on the cover by some publisher, especially when it gets into paperback. The aforementioned Camulod Chronicles begins with The Skystone which had a picture of a 1st Century Roiman Legionary Centurion riding a horse in full armor, complete to Imperial Gallic Helmet with transverse crest when the story is set in the late 4th Century.

Actually, my favorite Anderson story is Three Hearts and Three Lions, about which I'll simply refer you to Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Three-Hearts-Lions-Poul...mp;s=books

Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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