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"Saxon/Viking/Norse Historical Fiction Recommendations?" Topic

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1,087 hits since 4 Jan 2013
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charlest Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 12:20 p.m. PST

I'm looking for some good historical fiction to read as I just started putting together my Saxon warband for SAGA.

It doesn't have to be Saxon specific, just something set in the time period that will inspire me.

Ideally, it would be gritty and well-written. Something like George R.R. Martin would be splendid.

Sean Clark Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 12:27 p.m. PST

Er….Bernard Cornwell?

Ive just discovered Giles Kristian.

daghan Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 12:38 p.m. PST

'Hereward the Wake' by Charles Kingsley.

Soldat04 Jan 2013 12:39 p.m. PST

I'm partway through "Sword Song" by Bernard Cornwell. Not bad so far.

This might be of interest.


charlest Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 12:50 p.m. PST

Checking out the Saxon series by Cornwell…looks promising. Thanks for the recommendations guys.

kodiakblair04 Jan 2013 1:00 p.m. PST

I say Robert Low's " Oathsworm ". It's
mainly about Vikings though.

Huscarle Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 1:32 p.m. PST

Ray Bryant's "Warriors of the Dragon Gold"
Alfred Duggan's "The Cunning of the Dove" and "The King of Athelney".
Hope Muntz "The Golden Warrior"
Julian Rathbone "The Last English King"
Rosemary Sutcliffe "The Shield Ring"
Morgan Llywellyn "The Wind from Hastings"
H Rider Haggard's "The Wanderer's Necklace"
Poul Anderson "Hrolf Kraki's Saga" or "The Broken Sword"
Patricia Finney's Irish duet of "The Crow Goddess" and "A Shadow of Gulls".
Dorothy Dunnett "King Hereafter"

No idea if the old Wolfshead series is any good or not? link

I heartedly recommend the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Battle of Maldon" real gritty stuff or any of the Icelandic sagas.

ashill2 Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 1:41 p.m. PST

For Normans, try the Conquest trilogy by Jack Ludlow. It relates the exploits of the de Hauteville brothers in France and their campaigns in Italy in about 1060AD.

PKay Inc Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 2:05 p.m. PST

I'm nearly through book 4 of Cornwell's Saxon series. I'm really enjoying them. How much? Well….I'm contemplating raising armies for the period….

Littlearmies Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 2:18 p.m. PST

I'd nominate:

Alfred Duggan – Conscience Of The King (a fictional biography of Cerdic's rise to become King of Wessex, liberally strewn with the body of anyone who stood in his way), and Knight in Armour (about a poor knight)

Bernard Cornwall – the King Arthur trilogy (give it a try – no wizards in this version), and I'd second his Uhtred novels.

I'd also recommend the Robert Low "Oathsworn" books, and the Conquest trilogy by Jack Ludlow.

I'd highly recommend "Shieldwall" by Justin Hill – a novel of 1016 and Godwin Wulfnothson – this is the first in the series and was absolutely excellent.

I also enjoyed "Sworn Sword" by James Aitcheson – I just finished the sequel "Shattered Kingdom" a few days ago – these are stories of Tancred a lowly Norman knight in the years following 1066.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away04 Jan 2013 2:43 p.m. PST

More Rosemary Sutcliff – Sword Song (not to be confused with the Bernard Cornwell with the same title…) and The Shining Company (although the Saxons are the bad guys in that one).

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 2:53 p.m. PST

Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliffe (best Arthurian book I've read) I too have just finished Shieldwall by Justin Hill (highly recommended) asare all the above mentioned books

Lee Brilleaux Fezian04 Jan 2013 3:30 p.m. PST

I've been reading Tim Severin's Viking trilogy that starts with "Odinn's Child", and – after two books – recommend it highly. If, like me, you find Cornwell predictable, this is good stuff.

Margaret Elphinstone, "The Sea Road", concerns Gudrid the Far-Traveller, who travelled to Greenland and Vinland.

Joan Clark, "Eiriksdottir", about Eirik the Red's villainous daughter Freydis in Vinland.

kreoseus204 Jan 2013 4:26 p.m. PST

The Longships by Frans G. Bengtsson. Excellent Viking novel.

Personal logo Red3584 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 4:40 p.m. PST

Another recommendation for Giles Kristian… read the first of his viking books and really enjoyed it. I've just notices he also has a new one out set during the ECW…

I'd also recommend Julian Rathbone's Last English King for a different take on the period.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 10:48 p.m. PST

Poul Anderson did The Last Viking, which takes Harald Hardradda from boyhood, to Constantinople, and finally to Stamford Bridge.

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 2:57 a.m. PST


SonofThor06 Jan 2013 8:08 a.m. PST

Haakon! link


DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian06 Jan 2013 1:01 p.m. PST

Can't beat Cornwell here. However, after about the 4th book they start to get repetitive. That said, I really enjoyed them up until the last one. It's really too much of the same.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian06 Jan 2013 6:46 p.m. PST

That's my feeling about Cornwell. You can see the formula in action – see my own recommendations.

Grandviewroad Inactive Member17 Jan 2013 3:02 p.m. PST

I gave away all my Cornwell books except the Arthurian trilogy – Winter King, etc. They were tolerable. All the rest have a "wash, rinse, repeat" feeling, to the point where I confuse characters in totally different books (oh, was that what the "evil scheming church man" did in the last book…or was it the different series?). Also, Cornwell puts far too much post-modernism in the voice of his main characters, and they remind me of people I know now, not people from 1000 years ago. It's discordant.

Huscarle's list is very good, and anything by Rosemary Sutcliffe is always worth a go. And I'll throw in Seamus Heaney's translation of "Beowulf" as not just damn good but nearly impossible to put down! First time I bought it on a whim I ended up reading it straight through.

Grandviewroad Inactive Member17 Jan 2013 3:04 p.m. PST

Oh wait…do these stories have to kill off all the main characters you like in various unspeakable ways?

After all, you did say "like GRR Martin"…

If so, I have no recommendations. I don't know any other authors so cruel. :)

Lewisgunner17 Jan 2013 3:35 p.m. PST


It's the real thing!

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