#Norsevember Reads!

Hello and welcome to the big #Norsevember books feature. Here in one place are 30 books I’ve accumulated to give you a little insight into the amazing books inspired or based on Norse history, culture and mythology.

This list is based on my own research & reading and predominately recommendations from others! This is by no means a definitive list of the best Viking and Norse inspired reads out there but it certainly contains some of them. Hopefully it inspires your Norsevember reading plans or just gives a few additions to your TBRs. Enjoy!

Fantasy

The Gatewatch – Joshua Gillingham

Torin Ten-Trees and his closest companions, Bryn and Grimsa, set out to join The Gatewatch and become trollhunters. When a troupe of meddling dwarves throws them off course they are captured by trolls and taken as prisoners to a secret gathering deep underground. There they learn that an ancient giant has crowned himself king of the trolls and plans to utterly destroy The Gatewatch. Their perilous journey back to the land of sun and stars will stretch their strength to the limit, strain their wits, and demand an unspeakable sacrifice. But will it be enough to defeat the Troll King?

The Gatewatch is an epic troll-hunting adventure inspired by the Norse Myths and the Icelandic Sagas.


A Ritual of Bone – Lee C Conley

“Only valour and steel can stand against the rising dead”

Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds.

The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuries, the scholars of Arnar have kept these records and preserved the knowledge and great deeds of a proud people. The story of these peoples forever chronicled in the Sagas of the Great Histories.

But now the evil spreads and the dead walk in its wake, terrible creatures roam the night and even the spirits are restless. The Dead Sagas could perhaps be the final chapters of these great records.

Many threads entwine to tell this Saga, interweaving the tales of those who played their part in the search for answers and ultimately their fight for survival. Amid plague, invasion and terror, the inexorable rise of the dead sends a kingdom scrabbling to its knees.

This Dark Fantasy Epic combines dark malign horror and gritty survival adventure as the Dead Sagas unfold in a world where honour and renown is all, where beasts and savages lurk in the wilderness, and where sword, axe and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.


Northern Wrath – Thilde Kold Holdt

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.


Prince of Fools – Mark Lawrence

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.


Cold Counsel – Chris Sharp

In Chris Sharp’s new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.

However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two.

Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.

For cold is the counsel of women.


Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard The Sword of Summer – Rock Riordan

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.


Winter’s Fury – A. E. Rayne

IN A WORLD RULED BY MEN, ONE WOMAN WILL RISE

She was their greatest warrior; the daughter of the king. But her uncle stole the throne and sent her away to marry Eadmund, the drunken son of their worst enemy. Now she must pick up her sword again to restore her family’s honour and return to the home she loves.

Despite her skill with a sword, her prowess in battle, and her reputation as the greatest warrior in Brekka, without her father to protect her, Jael was merely a pawn, a woman to be married off so her uncle could forge an alliance to fulfil his own desperate ambitions.

Eadmund is broken hearted, tortured by the murder of his first wife, but his father had lost patience with him. He wanted heirs for his kingdom. He wanted his son back, restored to the fierce warrior he had once been. And when his daughter has a dream about Jael, the woman who would save him, he eagerly jumps at the opportunity to make an alliance with his worst enemy.

Jael and Eadmund will fight against their union, but the dreamers know that this marriage is meant to be; it must happen for the sake of all Osterland. For without them… without Jael and her sword, without Eadmund by her side, the five kingdoms will not survive the darkness that is coming to claim them all.


Shadow of the Raven – Millie Thom

By the mid ninth century, Danish raids on Anglo-Saxon kingdoms have escalated. Several bands even dare to overwinter on the coastal islands, particularly those at the mouth of the Thames, where the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia border each other.

The kings of these lands must put past enmity aside and take the first steps towards unity; steps they see as vital in the face of this newfound threat to their lands . . .

Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia are the sons of kings, whose futures have been determined since birth. But the turbulent events in their childhood years change the natural progression of things – and shape the characters of the men they will become. Their roads to manhood follow vastly different routes, but both learn crucial lessons along the way: lessons that will serve them well in future years.

Discovering that they enemy is not always a stranger is a harsh lesson indeed; the realisation that a trusted kinsman can turn traitor is the harshest lesson of all.

The story takes us from the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex to the Norse lands stretching north from Denmark to the Arctic Circle and east to the Baltic Sea. We glimpse the Court of Charles the Bald of West Francia and journey to the holy city of Rome. Through it all, the two boys move ever closer to their destinies.


Runemarks – Joanne M. Harris

Seven o’clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again. . . . Not that anyone would admit it was goblins. In Maddy Smith’s world, order rules. Chaos, old gods, fairies, goblins, magic, glamours – all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. The “ruinmark” she was born with on her palm proves it – and makes the other villagers fearful that she is a witch (though helpful in dealing with the goblins-in-the-cellar problem). But the mysterious traveler One-Eye sees Maddy’s mark not as a defect, but as a destiny. And Maddy will need every scrap of forbidden magic One-Eye can teach her if she is to survive that destiny.


The Wolf’s Shadow – K. W. Kenny

For weeks, Briga, a young druid, was troubled by unsettling dreams: dreams of fire, of death, and destruction. Dreams that came true when her clan was ambushed by a strange new enemy who called themselves the Drev’an. After sustaining grievous injuries in the fighting, Briga was captured and claimed as a war prize by the Drev’an leader, Batu. With her life and safety in Batu’s hands, her only hope of survival is to use her druidic skills and the appearance of a mysterious wolf to prove her worth to the Drev’an and their ambitious chief. However, the more she becomes part of the Drev’an war camp, the more she is haunted by strange memories of her early childhood… Memories that will leave her questioning who she really is, and if she can ever escape.


Blood Song – Anthony Ryan

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.


Blood of Heirs – Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Lidan Tolak is the fiercest of her father’s daughters; more than capable of one day leading her clan. But caught between her warring parents, Lidan’s world begins to unravel when another of her father’s wives falls pregnant. Before she has time to consider the threat of a brother, a bloody swathe is cut through the heart of the clan and Lidan must fight, not only to prove her worth, but simply to survive.

Ranoth Olseta wants nothing more than to be a worthy successor to his father’s throne. When his home is threatened by the aggressive Woaden Empire, Ran becomes his city’s saviour, but powers within him are revealed by the enemy and he is condemned to death. Confused and betrayed, Ran is forced to flee his homeland, vowing to reclaim what he has lost, even if it kills him.

Facing an unknown future, and battling forces both familiar and foreign, can Lidan and Ran overcome the odds threatening to drag them into inescapable darkness?


The Blood Tainted Winter – T L Greylock

Raef Skallagrim wants to take the sea road. His ship is fast and sleek, his crew skilled and eager, and they will seek out new lands and win fame in the eyes of the gods. But Raef’s father refuses to allow the journey and when a stranger brings word that the king is dead and a gathering has been called to choose a successor, Raef must set aside his dream for his duty to his ancestral lands and his father.

When factions split at the gathering to choose a successor, Raef finds himself mired in bloodshed and treachery. Forced to make an uneasy alliance with a man he does not trust, Raef must navigate the tides of a war among three kings while seeking revenge for cold-blooded murder.

But winter has come early to Midgard, and even the gods will feel the cold.


A Gathering of Ravens – Scott Oden

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind–the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning–the Old Ways versus the New–and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?


Queens of the Wyrd – Timandra Whitecastle

Raise your shield. Defend your sisters. Prepare for battle

Half-giant Lovis and her Shieldmaiden warband were once among the fiercest warriors in Midgard. But those days are long past and now Lovis just wants to provide a safe home for herself and her daughter – that is, until her former shield-sister Solveig shows up on her doorstep with shattering news.

Solveig’s warrior daughter is trapped on the Plains of Vigrid in a siege gone ugly. Desperate to rescue her, Sol is trying to get the old warband back together again. But their glory days are a distant memory. The Shieldmaidens are Shieldmothers now, entangled in domestic obligations and ancient rivalries.

But family is everything, and Lovis was never more at home than at her shield-sisters’ side. Their road won’t be easy: old debts must be paid, wrongs must be righted, and the Nornir are always pulling on loose threads, leaving the Shieldmaidens facing the end of all Nine Realms. Ragnarok is coming, and if the Shieldmaidens can’t stop it, Lovis will lose everyone she loves…

Fate is inexorable. Wyrd bith ful araed.


Bjørn Larssen – Children

Magni never wanted to be like his father, a murderous, absent, cheating alcoholic: Thor – the feared and beloved God of thunder. When Thor destroys everything and everyone his son knows and loves, Magni vows to stop the violence. His dream is to bring peace and prosperity to the Nine Worlds, then settle down with the man he loves. But is it possible to remain good in a place this bad? How do you escape cruelty in a universe built on it, or the shadow of your father when everyone calls you by his name?

Maya knows she’s a failure and a disappointment to her foster-parents. How could a child raised by Freya and Freyr – Goddess of love and God of sex – have no interest in the greatest of pleasures? Obviously, it couldn’t be the torture they subjected her to, or treating her as a tool that might someday be useful. Maya, her rage at their games more powerful than she knows, wants freedom to pursue her own destiny. But how do you forge your own life away from your God-parents when you’re nothing more than human?

A retelling of the Norse myths unlike any other, Children will answer all the questions you never knew you had about the heathen Nine Worlds… before leading you into the Tenth.


History/Non Fiction

The Vikings – René Chartrand et al

The history of the Vikings is bloody and eventful, and Viking warriors capture the popular imagination to this day. Viking raids reached from Norway to North Africa, they established the dukedom of Normandy, provided the Byzantine Emperor’s bodyguard and landed on the shores of America 500 years before Columbus. In The Vikings the authors provide a detailed examination of the Viking Hersir, the raiding warrior of the Viking world, and the
famed Viking longship that transported the Vikings through treacherous waters to their bloody raids. This beautifully illustrated book also includes a fascinating insight into the Vikings in North America and the lives the Viking led at home.


The Norse Myths A Guide to the Gods and Heroes – Carolyne Larrington

The Norse Myths presents the Viking gods, from the mighty Asyr, led by Ó?inn, and the mysterious Vanir, to Thor and the mythological cosmos they inhabit. Passages translated from Old Norse bring this legendary world to life, from the myths of creation to ragnarök, the prophesied end of the world at the hands of Loki’s army of monsters and giants, and everything that comes in between: the long and problematic relationship between the gods and the giants, the (mis)adventures of human heroes and heroines, with their family feuds, revenges, marriages, and murders; and the interaction between the gods and mortals.

Photographs and drawings show a range of Norse sites, objects, and characters, from Viking ship burials to dragons on runestones. Dr. Carolyne Larrington describes the Norse myths’ origins in pre-Christian Scandinavia and Iceland, and their survival in archaeological artifacts and written sources, from Old Norse sagas and poems to the less-approving accounts of medieval Christian writers. She traces their influences into the work of Wagner, William Morris, and J. R. R. Tolkien, and even Game of Thrones in the resurrection of the Fimbulvetr, or “Mighty Winter.”


Aelfred’s Britain – Max Adams

In 865, a great Viking army landed in East Anglia, precipitating a series of wars that would last until the middle of the following century. It was in this time of crisis that the modern kingdoms of Britain were born. In their responses to the Viking threat, these kingdoms forged their identities as hybrid cultures: vibrant and entrepreneurial peoples adapting to instability and opportunity. Traditionally, AElfred the Great is cast as the central player in the story of Viking Age Britain. But Max Adams, while stressing the genius of AElfred as war leader, law-giver, and forger of the English nation, has a more nuanced and variegated narrative to relate. The Britain encountered by the Scandinavians of the ninth and tenth centuries was one of regional diversity and self-conscious cultural identities: of Picts, Dal Riatans and Strathclyde Britons; of Bernicians and Deirans, East Anglians, Mercians and West Saxons.


Valkyrie The Women of the Viking World – Johanna Katrin Fridriksdottir

Valkyries: the female supernatural beings that choose who dies and who lives on the battlefield. They protect some, but guide spears, arrows and sword blades into the bodies of others. Viking myths about valkyries attempt to elevate the banality of war – to make the pain and suffering, the lost limbs and deformities, the piles of lifeless bodies of young men, glorious and worthwhile. Rather than their death being futile, it is their destiny and good fortune, determined by divine beings. The women in these stories take full part in the power struggles and upheavals in their communities, for better or worse. Drawing on the latest historical and archaeological evidence, Valkyrie introduces readers to the dramatic and fascinating texts recorded in medieval Iceland, a culture able to imagine women in all kinds of roles carrying power, not just in this world, but pulling the strings in the other-world, too. In the process, this fascinating book uncovers the reality behind the myths and legends to reveal the dynamic, diverse lives of Viking women.


The Northmen’s Fury – Philip Parker

The Northmen’s Fury tells the Viking story, from the first pinprick raids of the eighth century to the great armies that left their Scandinavian homelands to conquer larger parts of France, Britain and Ireland. It recounts the epic voyages that took them across the Atlantic to the icy fjords of Greenland and to North America over four centuries before Columbus and east to the great rivers of Russia and the riches of the Byzantine empire.

One summer’s day in 793, death arrived from the sea. The raiders who sacked the island monastery of Lindisfarne were the first Vikings, sea-borne attackers who brought two centuries of terror to northern Europe. Before long the sight of their dragon-prowed longships and the very name of Viking gave rise to fear and dread, so much so that monks were reputed to pray each night for delivery from ‘the Northmen’s Fury’. Yet for all their reputation as bloodthirsty warriors, the Vikings possessed a sophisticated culture that produced art of great beauty, literature of abiding power and kingdoms of surprising endurance.

The Northmen’s Fury describes how and why a region at the edge of Europe came to dominate and to terrorise much of the rest of the continent for nearly three centuries and how, in the end, the coming of Christianity and the growing power of kings tempered the Viking ferocity and stemmed the tide of raids. It relates the astonishing achievement of the Vikings in forging far-flung empires whose sinews were the sea and whose arteries were not roads but maritime trading routes.

The blood of the Vikings runs in millions of veins in Europe and the Americas and the tale of their conquests, explorations and achievements continues to inspire people around the world.


Viking Britain – Thomas Williams

A new narrative history of the Viking Age, interwoven with exploration of the physical remains and landscapes that the Vikings fashioned and walked: their rune-stones and ship burials, settlements and battlefields.

Britain in the Viking Age was a turbulent violent place, and the war-lords of the age have names that fire the blood and stir the imagination – Alfred the Great and Ivar the Boneless, Edmund Ironside and Erik Bloodaxe, Macbeth and Thorfinn Skullsplitter (to name but a few). The way in which their stories intersect with real places offers potential for a richly textured narrative. By drawing together narrative history, new academic research and first-hand experience, Tom Williams offers a vital evocation of a forgotten world, its echoes in later history and its implications for the present.

A Viking Britain truly existed, and its historical and cultural footprint is in many ways broader and deeper than Rome’s. Between the conventional beginning of the Viking Age in the late eighth century and its close in the eleventh, Scandinavian people and culture were involved with Britain to a degree that has left a permanent impression on these islands. They came to plunder and, ultimately, to settle, to colonize and to rule. By the time of the Norman Conquest, much of Britain might justifiably be described as ‘Viking’, and in language, literature, place-names and folklore, the presence of Scandinavian settlers can still be felt. Indeed, the Vikings have been a powerful cultural force in modern times. Their representation in paintings, novels and operas – from the music of Elgar to the writing of Kipling, Morris and Tolkien – has had a profound impact on the British psyche. Much of what we imagine when we think of the Vikings – even the word ‘Viking’ itself – grew, not form the Viking Age itself, but from the political, literary and artistic currents of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Here, too, a Viking Britain came alive.


Historical Fiction & Mythology

Norse Myths – Kevin Crossley-Holland & Jeffrey Alan Love

An extraordinary and enthralling illustrated anthology of Norse Myths from a Carnegie-Medal winning author.

The gods of the Vikings come to life as never before in this extraordinary illustrated anthology by Carnegie Medal-winning author Kevin Crossley-Holland and astonishing artist Jeffrey Alan Love. These dramatic, enthralling and atmospheric tales are based on the Scandinavian myth cycle – one of the greatest and most culturally significant stories in the world – and tell of Odin with his one eye, Thor with his mighty hammer and Loki, the red-haired, shape-shifting trickster. In this stunning illustrated anthology of myths, the strange world of ancient magic, giants, dwarfs and monsters is unforgettably imagined.


The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

This is the story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.

This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.


Raven Blood Eye – Giles Kristian

For two years Osric has lived a simple life, apprentice to the mute old carpenter who took him in when others would have him cast out. But when Norsemen from across the sea burn his village they also destroy his new life, and Osric finds himself a prisoner of these warriors. Their chief, Sigurd the Lucky, believes the Norns have woven this strange boy’s fate together with his own, and Osric begins to sense glorious purpose among this Fellowship of warriors.

Immersed in the Norsemen’s world and driven by their lust for adventure, Osric proves a natural warrior and forges a blood bond with Sigurd, who renames him Raven. But the Norsemen’s world is a savage one, where loyalty is often repaid in blood and where a young man must become a killer to survive. When the Fellowship faces annihilation from ealdorman Ealdred of Wessex, Raven chooses a bloody and dangerous path, accepting the mission of raiding deep into hostile lands to steal a holy book from Coenwolf, King of Mercia. There he will find much more than the Holy Gospels of St Jerome. He will find Cynethryth, an English girl with a soul to match his own. And he will find betrayal at the hands of cruel men, some of whom he regarded as friends…


Swords of Good Men – Snorri Kristjansson

To Ulfar Thormodsson, the Viking town of Stenvik is the penultimate stop on a long journey in this riveting adventure of clashing Viking powers. Tasked with looking after his cousin after disgracing his father, he has traveled the world and now only wants to go home.

Stenvik is different: it contains the beautiful and tragic Lilja, who immediately captures Ulfar’s heart-–but Stenvik is also home to some very deadly men, who could break Ulfar in an instant.

King Olav is marching on Stenvik from the East, determined to bring the White Christ to the masses at the point of his sword, and a host of bloodthirsty raiders led by a mysterious woman are sailing from the north.

But Ulfar is about to learn that his enemies are not all outside the walls.


Odin’s Game – Tim Hodkinson

D 915.

In the Orkney Isles, a young woman flees her home to save the life of her unborn child. Eighteen years later, a witch foretells that evil from her past is reaching out again to threaten her son.

Outlawed from his home in Iceland, Einar Unnsson is thrown on the mercy of his Uncle, the infamous Jarl Thorfinn ‘Skull Cleaver’ of Orkney. He joins forces with a Norse-Irish princess and a company of wolfskin-clad warriors to become a player in a deadly game for control of the Irish sea, where warriors are the pawns of kings and Jarls and the powerful are themselves mere game pieces on the tafl board of the Gods.

Together they embark on a quest where Einar must fight unimaginable foes, forge new friendships, and discover what it truly means to be a warrior.

As the clouds of war gather, betrayal follows betrayal and Einar realises the only person he can really trust is himself.

Not everyone will survive, but who will conquer all in Odin’s game?


Beowulf A New Translation – Maria Dahvana Headley

BEOWULF: A NEW TRANSLATION’ IS A NEW, FEMINIST TRANSLATION OF BEOWULF BY THE AUTHOR OF THE MUCH-BUZZED-ABOUT NOVEL ‘THE MERE WIFE’.

Nearly 20 years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of ‘Beowulf’ – and 50 years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world – there is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley that brings to light elements that have never before been translated into English, re-contextualizing the binary narrative of monsters and heroes into a tale in which the two categories often entwine, justice is rarely served, and dragons live among us.

A man seeks to prove himself as a hero. A monster seeks silence in his territory. A warrior seeks to avenge her murdered son. A dragon ends it all. The familiar elements of the epic poem are seen with a novelist’s eye toward gender, genre, and history – ‘Beowulf’ has always been a tale of entitlement and encroachment, powerful men seeking to become more powerful, and one woman seeking justice for her child, but this version brings new context to an old story. While crafting her contemporary adaptation of ‘Beowulf’, Headley unearthed significant shifts lost over centuries of translation.


Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.


The Wolf in the Whale – Jordanna Max Brodsky

A sweeping tale of clashing cultures, warring gods, and forbidden love: In 1000 AD, a young Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior become unwilling allies as war breaks out between their peoples and their gods-one that will determine the fate of them all.

“There is a very old story, rarely told, of a wolf that runs into the ocean and becomes a whale.”

Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people.

But the gods have stopped listening and Omat’s family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left.

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world…or save it.


Bloodaxe – C R May

Under the iron rule of Harald Fairhair, Norway has been a land at peace for half a century.

Groomed for the succession, the king’s eldest surviving son has lived the life of a Viking prince; harrying wherever his longships can reach, from the frozen forests of Bjarmaland to the rocky shores of Brittany and beyond.

But none expected Harald to live so long, and as the king enters his ninth decade his powers begin to wane.

Seizing their chance other Haraldssons move to snatch the crown for themselves, and a brother war sweeps the land as Erik fights to defend his birthright…

Bloodaxe is the first volume in a trilogy which will tell the story of one of the Viking Age’s legendary kings.


The Whale Road – Robert Low

A band of brothers, committed only to each other, rides the waves, fighting for the highest bidder, treading the whale road in search of legendary relics.

Life is savage aboard a Viking raiding ship. When Orm Rurikson is plucked from the snows of Norway to brave the seas on the Fjord Elk, he becomes an unlikely member of the notorious crew. Although young, Orm must quickly become a warrior if he is to survive.

His fellow crew are the Oathsworn—named after the spoken bond that ties them in brotherhood. They fight hard, they drink hard, and they always defend their own.

But times are changing. Loyalty to the old Norse Gods is fading, and the followers of the mysterious “White Christ” are gaining power across Europe. Hired as relic hunters, the Oathsworn are sent in search of a sword believed to have killed the White Christ. Their quest will lead them onto the deep and treacherous waters of the whale road, toward the cursed treasure of Attila the Hun and to a challenge that presents the ultimate threat.

Robert Low has written a stunning epic, a remarkable debut novel. Not only a compelling narrative, The Whale Road also brings a new Viking landscape stretching from Scotland through the Baltic and on to Istanbul.


10 thoughts on “#Norsevember Reads!

  1. Thanks for the list! I barely read any of these see need to check them out!
    I really loved Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, and really enjoyed listening to Magnus Chase!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

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