Books About Vikings

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The Vikings were Germanic Norse seafarers of Scandinavian origins. Their advanced sea skills allowed them to raid and trade with large parts of northern and Central Europe from the 8th through to the 11th century. Vikings had a rich set of culture and mythology with an intricate social structure. Much of what we know of the Vikings comes from literary sources written by those who came in contact with them and archaeological artefacts like weaponry, runes and burial sites. The public perception of Vikings has changed quite a bit over the years ranging from barbarians to romanticised noble men. They have always garnered the interest of people and hence have had a vast range of books written about them, both fiction and non-fiction.

  1. Daily Life of the Vikings by Kirsten Wolf (2004): This non-fiction book tells of the realities of the Viking life detailing their social structures, families, day-to-day interactions with different groups in society and their methods and means of travel. It gives an intimate look into a society that is often misunderstood and tainted by one-sided popular media representations.
  2. A History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones (2001): This incredibly thorough non-fiction book gives a look into Vikings—their life, culture, beliefs, their exploits, wars and trades—from their origins to what is considered the end of the Viking age.
  3. The Viking World by Stefan Brink (2011): This academic minded book is written for those already familiar with the Vikings. The culture of Vikings has been explored by different fields—history, archaeology, theology, philosophy, anthropology—and this book combines them to give a full picture of the latest development in our study of Vikings.
  4. The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell (2004 – Present): The Saxon Stories are a series of historical novels, nine to date. Set in 9th and 10th century Britain, it follows the protagonist, Uhtred who was born to a Saxon lord but was captured and adopted by Danish Vikings. The books follow the events of the Viking invasions of Britain.
  5. Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (1230): This impressive book is a collection of sagas about Norwegian kings. It tells tales about Norse mythology, fables and factual historical events surrounding the Norwegian royal dynasty. Though there is much debate about its factual accuracy, the book in itself is a pleasure to read.
  6. Njál’s Saga (13th century): This is an Icelandic saga telling of events set between 960 and 1020. The story revolves around two main characters—a sage and a warrior. The themes in the saga revolve around blood feuds, honor and the idea of masculinity.
  7. Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922 by Michael Crichton (1976): This book, inspired by the writings of Ibn Fadlan and the story of Beowulf is set in the 10th It revolves around the Caliph of Baghdad’s ambassador, Ibn Fadlan as he is conscripted by a Viking group.
  8. The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (1941): A Swedish book of the name Rode Orm, it follows the adventures of one character, the Viking Rode Orm in the backdrop of the political climate in Europe in late 10th
  9. The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer (2007): The beginning of a series of young adult or children’s fantasy books is unlike other because it is written for a younger audience. It follows two young children and their adventures as they are captured by Vikings.
  10. Last Viking Series by P. Anderson (1980): This set of three books follows the life of Harald Sigurdharsan who lived from 1015 to 1066 and became King Harald III of Norway. The books and the characters are based on historical documents and sagas giving it a veracity that many Viking books lack.


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