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10 thoughts on “Röde Orm

  1. says:

    ”His voice became frenzied and he glared wrathfully from one to the other brandishing his arms and crying Blood wolves murderers and malefactors adulterated vermin Gadarene swine weeds of Satan and minions of Beelzebub generation of vipers and basilisks shall you be cleansed by holy baptism and stand as white as snow in the regiments of the blessed angels? Nay I tell you it shall not be so I have lived long in this house and have witnessed too much; I know your ways No bishop or holy father shall ever persuade me that such as you can be saved How should men of the north be allowed to enter the gates of heaven? You would scrabble at the blessed virgins with your lewd fingers you would raise your war whoops against the seraphim and archangels you would bawl for ale before the throne of God Himself No no I know what I speak of Hell alone will serve for such as you whether you be baptized or no Praised be Almighty God the One the Eternal amen”Okay so Brother Willibald has good reason to be suspicious as to whether Norsemen will make good Christians They spend a good bit of their adult life scouring the world for plunder women treasure and have been known to lop off a fair number of priestly heads in the process When they are not out perpetrating murder and mayhem they are dreaming about it They are ruled by impulses and pride When they are not fighting others they are fighting among themselves For churches cash cows to stay built and not to be continually razed to the ground a certain level of civilization has to be achieved Conversion of the Vikings from the warrior gods Thor and Odin is in the best interest of the world OdinOur hero of this epic tale is Orm serpent He sports a mane of red hair and a fiery temper and is at times is referred to as Red Orm He is the third son which would be a problem leaving him what seems an insurmountable distance from his father’s inheritance but given the nature of the Viking life span he is only a descending axe blade a wreck at sea or a well placed sword thrust away from being the heir His mother Asa dotes on him and practically makes him into a hypochondriac Throughout his adventures as he is speared stabbed bashed thumped and smashed he embraces his injuries for much longer than what a manly Viking should This creates many opportunities for humor I might want to confess at this time that I laughed out loud several times than once while I was sandwiched on a cattle car we call planes As I lost feeling from the knees down and the ache in my back finally shorted out all the pain sensors in my spine and my head became woozy no not with mead or ale or wine but with the stale air we are forced to breath thank goodness Orm and his band of Viking brothers took me away to a ship where at least when the waves became choppy I could lean over the side and spew my breakfast without fear of sharing the fumes with all my fellow travelers Viking Prow to instill fear in their enemiesOrm is taken capture right off his father’s sheep farm Viking plunder ships are always in need of arms and shoulders for rowing In a battle at sea Orm and eight of his companions are taken captive again this time by the Andalusians and are forced to row for their fleet Because of his position on the rowing bench Orm becomes left handed He rows for two years and in that time becomes uite the manly specimen with bulging muscles and a thirst for adventure Al Mansur knowing what fierce fighters Norsemen are and makes them part of his body guard on one condition that they switch their religion to Islam With a sword blade against one’s neck one tends to sayYES Orm didn’t really mind this new religion but he did become tired of smashing his head against the ground As soon as they leave Al Mansur’s service they return to their old ways Orm and his friend Toke acuire lifetime companions while in Andalusia swords made of the finest Spanish steel King Harald and Styrbjorn expressed their wish to see these swords; so Orm and Toke passed Blue Tongue and Red Jowl up the table King Harald and Styrbjorn drew them from their scabbards and weighed them in their hands studying them carefully; and both agreed that they had never in their lives seen finer swords than these Then the swords were passed round the whole table for many of the guests were curious to examine such fine weapons and Orm fidgeted nervously until he had Blue Tongue back at his waist again for he felt half naked without her cheek against his thigh” Frans G BengtssonFranz G Bengtsson is a Swedish novelist who published his “masterpiece” in two parts The first part was published in 1941 and the second part in 1945 Others consider his biography of the Swedish king Charles XII to be his magnum opus He wrote many well respected essays about many leading historical figures Bengtsson once said Joan of Arc Charles XII and Garibaldi are the persons I would like to meet for them the truth was important than intriguesPoetry is considering almost as important to Norseman as a good sword arm They love telling stories and while reading the book I really felt like I was curled up by a roaring hearth fire listening to the men tell of their exploits punctuated by ale pots crashing against the table and the sueals of women who wandered too close to curious fingers If you had told me this was written a 1000 years ago I’d have almost believed you You challenged a priestAnd that was the leastFor he toppled you intoThe mud King SvenYou were always greedy forMore King SvenYou thought yourself greater thanThor King SvenBut the priest threw a stoneAnd down with a groanYou fell on your face to the Floor King Sven Ahh yes our favorite priest Father Willibald is commemorated in verse by Orm He is making progress converting the heathens to Christianity His ability to heal the sick something that Orm is usually in great need of convinces many of the Norsemen that his god is stronger than theirs The Christian God is strongerAs we approach 1000AD the Christians are convinced that Judgement Day is nigh and use this impending event to win converts faster The Norsemen have a different idea about the end of times than what Willibald expected ”From the very first day of this year every young Christian woman had sought the delights of bodily pleasure greedily than ever before for they were uncertain whether this pleasure would be allowed them in heaven and were therefore anxious to enjoy as much of it as they could while there was yet time since whatever form of love heaven might have to offer them they doubted whether it could be as agreeable as the sort practiced on earth”By the time they realize they have been Cotton Mathered every woman in the village is pregnant It is hard for the Vikings to understand how pleasure in all its forms can be looked on as a deficit against their ability to achieve heaven If you are having a good time your soul is in jeopardy but ”stories about sin are always good to hear” ThorThe names are so wonderful Harald Blue tooth Sven Rat Nose Ivar Broad Hug Sone the Sharp Sighted Kolbjorn Burnt in His House Gudmund of Uvaberg Widow Gudny She was of powerful and impressive appearance not yet old enough to frighten menThorkell the High and One eyed Rapp just to name a few Characters will appear and disappear only to reappear much later but Bengtsson deftly gives us little hints to refresh our memory to the placement of these people in the plot There is romance; in fact Orm converts to Christianity as part of a plot to see the love of his life Ylva the daughter of King Harald Blue Tooth There is adventure with many mishaps and many opportunities for Orm to show his craftiness when over matched by sword arms As I finish this review I feel a bit lovelorn myself with many fine memories of eagerly turning pages and experiencing right along with the characters the smashing of a blade against my shield the salt air in my nostrils the good cheer of a good meal of food and stories and maybe even a willing young woman to warm my blankets I’m going to grow my hair out and learn to snarl If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. says:

    At the end of the dark tenth century Vikings and their ancient customs were changing rapidly the bold men sea pirates and land raiders didn't recognize it that was a fatal mistake the harsh climate of Norway Sweden and Denmark even distant Iceland slowly becoming nations did not make illiterate peasants there wealthy just the opposite much easier to rob than working on poor farms scratching a living in the unpredictable cold weather an unproductive soil The era of stealing the neighbors goods murdering the defenders and taking their women would not last much longer A powerful force came to the ignorant Norsemen from a far away warm unknown dry desert land Something they could not stop with a slashing sword a thrust of the spear an arrow hitting a target or a stab of a knife into the soft bloody flesh You can't kill an idea with weapons which people want and needThe Viking ships long and narrow sails made of cloth oarsmen rowing tirelessly in three feet of water the brave crew traveling speedily up and down rivers lakes stormy seas when no breeze flutters the sails The strange fearless shaven men continuously arrive preaching a new religion about just one God the Christ no matter how many lose their headsslowly a trickle of women children and a few men are baptized however it will spread but that is in the future At present Orm Red Tostesson is a young vigorous big man a boy really full of exciting stories he has heard from four older brothers All have gone on long raids some coming back with loot to tell the tales of foreign adventures legends made to be recited for many years of these exploits Still his influential concerned mother Asa keeps him home in southern Sweden called Skania though his father Toste is a famous warrior chieftain ruled by the Danish king Harald Bluetooth Yet constant Viking raids even against their own people in this turbulent dangerous times never stop; he is captured by enemies and fights the Moors in Spanish waters and becomes a galley slave then a prestigious bodyguard to the great Muslim ruler there Almansur and that is just the beginning Wars brutal sea battles heads fall faster than bowling balls hitting pins later an escape from an unfriendly situation with a treasure joining a Viking expedition on his own boat The vast wealth of England a weak English king Ethelred the Unready greedy men from the long ships well it is a perfect combination for a large fleet to plunder the inhabitants of the island and the red haired raider and his friend Toke Grey Gullsson a good man when sober but he seldom is do Luckily Father Willibald a better healer of wounds than a savior of souls is back home A third rousing uest by Red Orm into a puzzling territory that someday will become Russia the best Viking book ever written if you like thrills spills and chills by an author who knows his history well some of it


  3. says:

    In just a minute I’ll be trying my hardest to sell you Goodreading friends on this sensational Viking experience Before that though seeing as how I’m foaming over with excitement and appreciation I have multiple people to thank⊕ First to the author I know that you’re dead but believe you must be sitting at the right hand of Odin smiling that another reader has recognized your magnificent talent for stories your impressive capacity for research and your sure way with words Plaudits to your translator too It couldn’t have been easy to get the spare vaguely archaic tone of this right⊕ To NYRB Classics Had I known that your choices for reissue were this good I’d have sampled your collection much sooner ⊕ To my lovely level headed wife who may be a bit prejudiced against Norsemen and for that matter frat boys Your initial reluctance to believe that a story about Vikings in the late 10th century could be good made me realize that I’d have to work hard to make my case And yes Susan women were featured though the chivalry they were shown was not what you might call refined⊕ And finally to Sandmeyer’s Bookstore my favorite purveyors of fine reading here in Chicago From the bottom of my ale cup to the tip of my Andalusian steel I say thank you for placing this book in my hands Ellen and Ulrich you and your well read customer who named this the best story ever were absolutely right – I now have a new standard for rollicking good fun and ripping good yarnPlot and HistoryTo me the best historical fiction integrates real events into the narrative in such an entertaining way that you hardly notice the education This is exactly that kind of book I now know lots about the Viking Age Al Mansur in Andalusia Brian Boru in Ireland Ethelred the Unready the Battle of Maldon and many of the Norse Kings and chieftains This comes as part of the package featuring the adventures of one Red Orm red being the color of his hair and of his face when he’s angry We first meet Orm as a young teen left at home in Scania now southern Sweden with his mother as the older men were a viking He tried his best to defend their farm against a party of thieves and for his efforts gained enough respect to join the raiders as an eual rather than a captive As they sailed along the Frankish coast they allowed an escaped prisoner named Solomon to take refuge Interesting side note Bengtsson was a staunch anti Nazi and would not allow translations that attempted to delete Solomon an honorable Jew from the book After Solomon guided them to the castle of the Castilian Margrave who had betrayed him they sacked the place and made off with the spoils only to be captured and enslaved by an Andalusian fleet At this point I realize that any further attempt to summarize would be folly For one thing there’s simply too much Believe me there’s enough peril action and intrigue to wear out three if not musketeers The other reason is that you will read this book and will find out what happens on your own You’ll enjoy learning about the actual history the customs and the character of the people involved with each new adventure It’s also satisfying to track Orm’s growth as a man a leader and what must have passed at that time for a menschCultural TidbitsSo much of what I liked about this book comes down to the thousand year old perspective that Bengtsson effected for viewing their lives Imagine a spectrum with the current day at one end and a time when we weren’t much than Jane Goodall subjects at the other While I’m not sure exactly where this cast of North men would fit in a cultural interpolation it’s probably a little to the earlier side of The Princess Bride I suspect the meek back then inherited very little of the earth These were men of large appetites and a single mindedness of purpose Nuanced they were not At a Yule feast Orm attended hosted by wise King Harald Bluetooth all weapons were to be checked at the door and “no women were allowed to be present at so tremendous a drinking bout for it was difficult enough King Harald thought to keep the peace when men were by themselves and it would be many times harder if they had women to brag to in their cups” Demand for good medical care seemed to outstrip the supply When leeches were deemed ineffective potions made from the juice of sloe boar’s gall saltpeter and a pinch of horseradish were the next best thing Orm was pretty certain he would die at one point when the leeches would not suck his blood It was a sure sign of poisoning so he thoughtWith all the pillaging drinking carousing and the like it’s hard not to view these Norsemen as a very ungentlemanly lot especially by our standards a full millennium hence There were codes of honor at times but they were akin to Chicago’s you know the one that says once you’re bought you stay bought Brother Willibald when asked to introduce the Christian God to these men probably got it about right His voice became frenzied and he glared wrathfully from one to the other brandishing his arms and crying Blood wolves murderers and malefactors adulterated vermin Gadarene swine weeds of Satan and minions of Beelzebub generation of vipers and basilisks shall you be cleansed by holy baptism and stand as white as snow in the regiments of the blessed angels? Nay I tell you it shall not be so How should men of the north be allowed to enter the gates of heaven? You would scrabble at the blessed virgins with your lewd fingers you would raise your war whoops against the seraphim and archangels you would bawl for ale before the throne of God Himself No no I know what I speak of Hell alone will serve for such as you whether you be baptized or no Christianity at a CrossroadsScandinavia at that time was in transition Many still preferred the pagan Gods and in many ways this was practical For instance turning the other cheek was often deadly The most effective witnessing tended to emphasize the luck Christ could bring Which is better a prayer to the Christian God or the blood of a goat when launching ship? The empirical evidence was mixed It was funny to hear a new convert talk to others trying to get them to join the fold It reminded me of Book of Mormon where they didn’t get it uite right but you could understand why Religious conflict made for an interesting theme throughout the bookThe Writing A Bit of the New With the OldThe narrator was omniscient or at least “scient” about “omni” as it was known at the time The story was told episodically and in aggregate made for uite a saga in the Icelandic tradition It even contained bits of poetry and characters who could create rhymes on the spot were greatly esteemed As for style it was straight ahead story telling at its best I often go for literary fare but was happy in this case that these Vikings had no interest in navels The prose may have been unadorned but that’s not to say that it was simple minded There was often a uick wittedness and a sly humor that transcended the many centuries For instance I had to laugh when some of the graybeards were sitting around complaining about how soft this new generation of men had become compared to the men of yore There was a certain cleverness in financial matters too In one tongue in cheek exchange one of the men negotiating terms suggested that A should decide how much B should give him and B should decide how much A should give him Or when one of the priests divvying up some windfall was trying to explain how difficult it was for a rich man to pass through the gates of Heaven the men offered to help lessen the riches of others to help better those men’s chances Some of you are you still with me Susan? will be happy to hear that the women such as Orm’s wife Ylva were among the cleverest There were knowing little nods to sexuality too that a modern audience can appreciate Closing the DealBe you man or woman weenie or brute I implore you to embark upon this journey unlikely as it may seem to besot you It’s an adventure book that will not insult your intelligence And it’s the least dry lesson in 10th century European history you could ever conceive When you’re done we’ll drink to our luck for having found this and with none of that watery mead either with a good hearty ale


  4. says:

    Brilliant comic novel about life in Viking Sweden Those Vikings were real tough dudes My favorite bit is the seuence with Orm's first captain who has a run of bad luck and ends up being captured and sold into slavery The overseer knows he used to be a big guy and takes special delight in tormenting him but the former captain waits for his chance One day while they're working in a shipyard they're close to a barrel of boiling pitch; he picks up the hated overseer and dumps him in head first He's immediately run through with three spears but has time for some last words He looks calmly around him and says Nu är min lycka bättre My luck has finally improvedI have just finished re reading this wonderful book; I have now read it three times There is hardly any novel I know which is so simply enjoyable The author said that his modest goal was to wrote a good story like The Odyssey or The Three Musketeers In my estimation and that of many others he succeeded; he has also been fortunate in having found a good translator and the English edition though not uite as fine as the Swedish original does not fall far short If you have not already done so I recommend that you lose no time in acuainting yourself with Orm Tostesson Toke Grågulleson the lord Almansur the Jew Salaman King Harald Blåtand his beautiful daughter Ylva and their many unforgettable adventures


  5. says:

    This year my reading has been to a great extent directed by my travels or visits These also account for my irregular presence in GR I have been either on the go or involved with other projects related to the travelsAs one of my upcoming trips is to the South of Spain to Andalusia I have been reading about the Muslim and medieval times in Spain Prior to this I had also travelled to another enclave that lies deep in the Christian medieval times of Spain to Burgos and this had me reading on those Reconuering kings And then unexpectedly I was invited to join another trip to Norway; rapidly I put aside the medieval Moors and Christians and picked this book up What a surprise it was that once I boarded on this literary long ships of Vikings after not many pages I found myself back in the Cordoba Caliphate with Al Mansur and accompanying the captured Viking Röde Orm the Red Serpent With him and Al Manur I travelled and stole literarily and vicariously the bells from the Santiago de Compostela church Doing this from the 21st century allowed me to know that from Burgos Ferdinand III over two centuries later would recover and bring back to Santiago the stolen bellsEventually I left Andalusia with Orm and met Harald Bluetooth and while I write this I look at the Bluetooth icon on the top right of my computer and think what would have Harald thought if he had known that this technology that sends information in a most animistic fashion that not even Odin would have been able to dream of would be named after himSince my edition has put the two original books together those published in 1941 and in 1945 I then follow Orm to his invasion of England and again my reading so long after the fact enables me to know that about seventy years later the Norsemen would be successful and determinant in their renewed invading efforts And of course my visit a few years ago to Bayeux and its tapestry inevitably comes to mindAnd as I was still engaged in this read walking on the beach promenade in Alicante at the foot of the Moorish castle built about a century before Orm’s time I see a poster announcing an exhibition dedicated to the Vikings in the local Anthropological museum a museum that stands at the other side of the mountain castle So there I went the following day to admire the pieces and the explanations an the rune stones and the reconstructions of those long ships and the wonderful chart showing the Viking invasions to the Umayyad’s AndalusiaI just hope the way my reading and my traveling weave together just like a Viking or a Muslim cloth


  6. says:

    This is the most laughs I've got out of a book dealing with pillaging raping burning slaving at a galley's oar duels to the death wars at sea or on land The fun starts from the very first chapter where it is dryly suggested that the reason the Northmen were so fond of going a viking to the ends of the known world every spring was to escape the sharp tongues and the fiery tempers of their beloved consorts After being cooped in with them for six long and cold winter months going out at sea must have been sheer blissThe hero of the story is Orm Tostesson the third son of a minor chieftain first met as an impetuous youth with a slight flaw in his character he is uickwitted skillful in the wielding of the spear and the battleaxe talented in poetry attractive to women; and a bit of a hypochondriac as a result of overpampering at the hands of his motherThis long epic is the story of Red Orm and his three adventurous journeys at sea of the friendships he made the hardships and the killings the wealth he won and given away the wild parties and the dubious stories he liked to tell the wisdom and fairness that will make him a respected chieftain in his own rightEurope around the year 1000 was a merciless world with hundreds of kingdoms warring ceaselessly and the travels of Orm will take him and us from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the Caliphate of Cordoba under al Mansur to Ireland under Brian Boru to England under Ethelbert the Unready Denmark under Harald Bluetooth where Orm will find a wife and ultimately east to the Dniepr cataracts in the Kiev voyvodateThe interludes between the sea voyages are as just as interesting with memorable scenes at the Yule party in Jutland or at the Thing congregation in Smaland The passion for strong drink brawling wenching and storytelling coupled with the earthy dry and slightly risue humor made me think of classic literary sources like Chaucer Boccaccio or the Arabian Nights here a few examples of poetry from the bookMulled ale for the frozen manAnd mulled ale for the wearyFor mulled ale is the body's friendAnd makes the sick heart merryI heard WordOf bellied sailclothCreak of oarsAnd gold in EastlandThen I smelledA smell rememberedSalt of sprayAnd black pitched boat's keeland a word of advice from an Irish clown A wise man once he is past fifty does not befuddle his senses with strong drink nor make violent love in the cool spring night nor dance on his handsThe book deals also with the rise of Christianity in the Northern kingdoms and I believe the author did a great job of balancing his atheist inclinations and a sharp wit exposing the follies of the zealous priests with the respect shown for the good works the honest faith and the tolerant spirit of the true christians exemplified by father Willibald A live and let live message of tolerance that I consider still relevant todayThe English translation did a very good job of maintaining the style and the rhythm of the old norse sagas but using a language that feels modern and easy to follow The book was a page turner for meAccording to wikipediaThe Swedish writer Sven Stolpe reports that somebody asked author Bengtsson what intentions he had with The Long Ships To which Bengtsson responded that he had no particular intentions I just wanted to write a story that people could enjoy reading like The Three Musketeers or the OdysseyAs far as I am concerned Bengtsson was succesful in his endeavour and his epic deserves to be considered a literary classic I hope it will remain long in print so that future generations can read it and enjoy itedit for spelling


  7. says:

    Orm the son of Toste did not choose to be a viking but Fate sent him on a path towards raiding plunder slavery war and the pursuit of a princess Orm's luck was best“For man can triumph over man and weapon over weapon; against the gods we can pit sacrifice and against witchcraft contrary magic; but against bad luck no man has anything to oppose”Taken in a pirate raid Orm joins the viking crew as they seek plunder in the southern land of Spain The Jewish ship mateThe Jew knew all about the stars and declared himself skillful at navigation; but in the event he proved to be of little use to them for his stars had different names from the ones they were used to besides which he was seasick Orm suffered likewise and he and Solomon hung over the gunwale together in great misery thinking that they would die The Jew wailed most piteously in his own language in the intervals of his vomiting; Orm told him to shut up but he answered that he was crying to his God who was in the storm wind Then Orm grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and told him that though he himself was in poor shape he yet had enough strength to throw him over the side if he uttered one cry for there was sufficient wind about already without his bringing his God any nearer to themThis uieted Solomon; and toward morning the wind lessened and the sea grew calm and they both began to feel better Solomon was very green in the face but he grinned at Orm in a friendly way and seemed not to bear him any ill will for his conduct of the night before and pointed his finger across the sea at the sunrise He sought among the words he knew and said that those were the red wings of the morning far out in the sea and that his God was there Orm replied that his God appeared to him to be the sort of divinity who was best kept at a respectable distance Throughout the story Orm easily mixes with people of different religions never becoming involved until he must be a ChristianBrother Willibald assures Orm that this could never happenI do not waste my time trying to convert such men as you”His voice became frenzied and he glared wrathfully from one to the other brandishing his arms and crying “Blood wolves murderers and malefactors adulterate vermin Gadarene swine weeds of Satan and minions of Beelzebub generation of vipers and basilisks shall you be cleansed by holy baptism and stand as white as snow in the regiments of the blessed angels? Nay I tell you it shall not be so I have lived long in this house and have witnessed too much; I know your ways No bishop or holy father shall ever persuade me that such as you can be saved How should men of the north be allowed to enter the gates of heaven? You would scrabble at the blessed virgins with your lewd fingers you would raise your war whoops against the seraphim and archangels you would bawl for ale before the throne of God Himself No no I know what I speak of Hell alone will serve for such as you whether you be baptized or no Praised be Almighty God the One the Eternal amen” But before the story ends Orm does become Christian to the best of his easy going ability“It would appear then” said Orm “that I have involuntarily angered this Satan by ceasing to worship Allah and His Prophet and that all my misfortunes have resulted from this”“It is as I feared” said Orm “Few men are in such a desperate plight as I It is too much for any man to be on evil terms with both God and Satan”He sat for a while buried in reflectionAt length he said “Take me to the envoys I wish to speak with men who have influence with God” A speedy marriage“I will not return to the crone” said Ylva “and I cannot stay here I shall go with Orm in any case and it will be better if you wed us first”“He is not yet baptized” cried the Bishop in despair “Dear child how can I marry you to a heathen? It is a scandalous thing to see a young girl so hot with lust Have you never been taught the meaning of modesty?”“No” replied Ylva without hesitation “My father taught me many things but modesty was something of which he knew little In a story of Vikings nomad tribesman and stolen treasure it is an unexpected treat to see dancing girls but here they are A rare moment of beauty in a dangerous world “The whole tribe is proud of them” said Felimid dolefully “and their mothers wash them in sweet milk every morning to make their skins clear But they will never learn to dance properly whatever pains I may expend upon them”Mats were spread out on the ground in front of the chieftains and men brought flaming torches Then the dancers appeared and were greeted with a great sigh of anticipation from all the tribesmen They were well shaped and appeared to be about thirteen or fourteen years old They wore red hats over their dark hair and strings of green glass beads round their breasts and were dressed in broad breeches of yellow silk from the land of the Seres tied at the ankles“It is a long time since I last saw dancing girls” said Orm “Not since I served my lord Almansur But I do not think I ever saw any of a engaging appearance than these”“It is not by their appearance but by their dancing that they are to be judged” said Felimid “But I designed their costumes myself and think them not displeasing”The dancers had with them two boys of the same age as themselves who suatted on their haunches and began to blow on pipes As the music started the girls began to hop around in the torchlight to the time of the pipes strutting and giving sudden leaps and bouncing backwards and twirling round on one leg so that everybody except Felimid sat entranced When the girls stopped great applause broke out and they looked gratified when they observed that the strangers too appeared pleased with their performance Then they glanced timidly at Felimid He nodded toward them as though satisfied and turned to Orm“I cannot tell them what I really feel” he explained “for it would make them miserable and the whole tribe with them And they are doing their best this evening with strangers present But the pipers pain me than the girls although they are Khazar slaves who have been given much leisure for practice and the Khazars are said to be skillful pipers But that is evidently a false reputation”The girls began to dance anew but after a while Felimid shouted angrily at them so that they ceased“I am glad my brother Ferdiad was spared this” he said to Orm “He had a tender ear than I”He said something to the pipers and one of them came over and handed him his pipeAs Felimid set his lips to it it seemed as though witchcraft entered into its reeds It was as though he piped of joy and luck jests and laughter the beauty of women and the gleam of swords the shimmer of morning upon a lake and the wind blowing over spring grasses Blackhair and Ulf sat rocking backwards and forwards as though they had difficulty in remaining seated; the two chieftains sitting on either side of Felimid nodded piously and fell asleep; the Patzinaks stamped their feet and clapped their hands rhythmically some laughing others crying; and the dancing girls spun and hovered as though they had been translated into thistledown by the notes of Felimid’s pipeThis is an action story with battles great deeds and skilled sword fights but there are also deeper aspects to this most honest and unusual vikingEnjoyPS There is a film of the book Do not watch it you will be disappointed


  8. says:

    The Long Ships An entertaining historical fiction adventure tale featuring badass Vikings doing badass Viking things Overall this was a fast fun often exciting read filled with a surprising amount of historically accurate details and dry humor


  9. says:

    A five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year 1000? Sure why not? This book has got booty than a Sir Mix a Lot video rimshot Of course I mean old school booty as in creaky wooden chests filled with gold coins and jewel encrusted amulets Red Orm is our hero a strangely lovable barbarian who begins the novel as a pubescent naif and ends it as a wealthy chieftain Oops spoiler alert retroactive I'm not really giving anything away there This is very much an old fashioned epic of seafaring treasure hunting and grisly spear fighting so there's little doubt that that things end well for the protagonist—which isn't to say that he doesn't have to steer his painted dragon ship through many a shitstorm to arrive at the happy ending Anyway people who lived in Scandinavia one thousand years ago were some hardcore mofos I'm not implying that non Scandinavian people were pussies but I haven't read any novels about them so they're temporarily irrelevant Life's pretty cheap to this sort One day everything is status uo and the next day they're at a drunken feast fighting to the death with some Swedish lug for giving them the stinkeye And nobody bats an eyelash This is just another day In other words don't make any longterm goals because any day now someone could split your skull in half Maybe even by accident thinking you were Smalander when you were really from Lister But it's just no big deal Your family washes out your chainmail and asks what's for dinner There is a lack of sentimentality in Y1K that makes the Seinfeld final episode look like a Douglas Sirk movie Bengtsson I think realized that this could be a problem for modern audiences so he gives us a relatively honorable and 'good' Viking to follow around Don't get me wrong Red Orm is all about killing for booty but he lets the other dude attack first so he can take the moral high ground But needless to say when you're dealing with a five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year 1000 you start out a little skeptical maybe This doesn't exactly sound like something to read while you're waiting for your oil to be changed But this novel has received some pretty rapturous acclaim from blurbsters the world over In fact one female reviewer made a case that even chicks would dig this book I don't know about that I mean maybe a certain type of chick I'm thinking a Renaissance Faire chick or one who enjoys role playing games And that's still a maybe I think the so called universal appeal of this novel is somewhat overstated Yes it is a rollicking adventure but that's all it is If you're looking for —like literary substance and profound meaning—go pick up a VC Andrews novel for Chrissake That's not what The Long Ships is trying to sell you This is the tentpole movie of literary fiction Approach it as such and enjoy


  10. says:

    Another tough book to review mainly because it has already been reviewed so well by folks like Kalliope and Manny among others Let me say that 'The Long Ships' was the most fun read I've had in a long time Many books I read seem almost obligatory and being a slow reader I slog through even books like 'The Long Ships' that I genuinely like It took me almost two weeks to read this book but the average reader on here whose brain is functional than mine could probably finish this book in a couple of days The story chronicles Viking life and specifically the missions of the book's main character Many people in the book were actual historical figures and Bengtsson does an excellent job of portraying some of them esp King HaraldIt is as has been noted many times an adventure story set in the late 10th Century featuring the protagonist Red Orm of ScaniaSkania a part of Southern Sweden Orm is waylaid by Viking privateers in his teen years and goes a viking with them and has many adventures and misadventures among them being captured by Spanish Moors and forced to toil as a galley slave until through connections he has made in his travels he comes to serve at the court of Almansur in Cordoba Spain He is forced to convert to Islam and works as one of Almansur's royal guard Al Manzur is uite avaricious so Orm is in many battles as the Moors go forth to seek plunder On one expedition to raid and pillage Christian churches Orm and his comrade Toke escape with one of the Caliph's ships and a large bell stolen from a church in Asturia said to house the grave of the James the apostle They deliver the bell as a gift to King Harald Bluetooth potentate of Denmark who has converted to Christianity Orm and Toke experience much revelry as guests of King Harald and Orm falls in love with the King's daughter Ylva who nurses him to health after he is injured in a duel The duel occurred at a Christmas feast where another Viking demanded Orm's gold chain a stupendous necklace of incalculable value given to Orm by Al Manzur Orm slays the Viking but is severely wounded in the battleSeveral big adventures are to come Red Orm goes to England with Thorkel the Tall to fight and win the Battle of Maldon and afterwards extort protection money from the misnamed Ethelred the Ready King of England Orm also reunited with his Ylva who escaped to English after Harald's son King Sven usurped the throne Orm marrieds Ylva and returns home and builds a house in the forest He also has converted to Christianity and builds a church and settles down to the extent that is possible One expedition is undertaken later in his life to recover some gold beueathed to Orm by his late brother in a far distant spot in modern day Russia Every expedition is fraught with peril and death and these are accepted as normal occurrences Even at Viking gatherings of various tribes called Things where disputes were arbitrated and issues discussed most attendees were disappointed if no duels took place and no one perishedThis brief account of the happenings of the novel does not do it justice 'The Long Ships' in the main is a chronicle of Viking life in the late 10th Century It is an adventure story similar to The Icelandic Sagas and the works of Alexandre Dumas Pere as several reviewers have noted The book's captivating stories serve to depict Viking life and morals and customs at a changing time in the world's history ie the Christianizing of Scandinavia and Eastern EuropeRussia This was a particularly challenging area to Christianize as the novel indicates by the frustrations of one of the key priests who is trying to convert the heathens Setting aside that they had their own gods and religious rituals consider the climate of Scandinavia and then try to imagine one of them in the 10th Century CE understanding the concept of hellThe book is actually a conflation of two novels that Bengtsson wrote both with the intention of simply telling a good story an intention he accomplishes and possibly as a dig at Nazi Germany One of the connections who saves Orm from life as a galley slave is Solomon a Jewish silversmith in Seville who had been kidnapped by Vikings and found his way aboard Orm's ship where he led Orm and other Vikings to a rich city in Spain which they besieged and eventually plundered Solomon though a Jew has much respect in Moorish Spain and is able to arrange what by comparison is a sinecure for Orm through the intervention of one of Almansur's wives who also factors into the story Bengtsson hated Nazi Germany and some reviewers feel he used the character of Solomon a positive figure as a dig at the Nazi's He also refused during his lifetime to allow the novel translated into GermanThe book is meant to be a convoluted story because it parallels actual Viking life which was many things Not all Vikings went plundering Many stayed home to do chores and guard the homesteads The Vikings were products of their time and a lot of their European looting was done not just because they were rascals by nature Much was done to augment their incomes and provide for their families back in Scandinavia Theirs was an honor culture where a wrong needed to be avenged though vengeance was not always meted out by violence Courage was expected of a man and cunning in business dealings was also highly regarded There is some evidence that Viking women also served as warriors The book is also about the civilizing of Viking culture a culture that had honored plunder murder wife stealing and other things that would not be PC today and were not too PC in some parts of the world in the 10th Century eitherThere is much humor and irony in this book which captures the wit and irony of the Viking people and helps to humanize them As Michael Chabon says in the book's introductionThough at times the story published in two parts each consisting of two parts over a span of several years has an episodic feel each of its individual components' narratives is well constructed of the soundest timbers of epic folktale and ripping yarn and as its hero grows old and sees his age passing away that episodic uality comes to feel in the end not like some congeries of saga and tall tale but like the accurate representation of one long and crowded human lifeIf you enjoy novels of action and tales and myths of glory love hardship and war you will probably enjoy 'The Long Ships As another reviewer noted it paints a far realistic picture of how the Vikings actually thought and lived as compared to the depictions shown today on television and movies


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Read & download ð PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Û Frans G. Bengtsson

Frans Gunnar Bengtsson’s The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the 10th century when the Vikings roamed rampaged from the northern fastnesses of Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean Bengtsson’s hero Red Orm canny courageous above all lucky is only a boy when he is abducted from his Danish home by the Vikings made to take his place at the oars of their dragon prowed ships Orm At the end of the dark tenth century Vikings and their ancient customs were changing rapidly the bold men sea pirates and land raiders didn't recognize it that was a fatal mistake the harsh climate of Norway Sweden and Denmark even distant Iceland slowly becoming nations did not make illiterate peasants there wealthy just the opposite much easier to rob than working on poor farms scratching a living in the unpredictable cold weather an unproductive soil The era of stealing the neighbors goods murdering the defenders and taking their women would not last much longer A powerful force came to the ignorant Norsemen from a far away warm unknown dry desert land Something they could not stop with a slashing sword a thrust of the spear an arrow hitting a target or a stab of a knife into the soft bloody flesh You can't kill an idea with weapons which people want and needThe Viking ships long and narrow sails made of cloth oarsmen rowing tirelessly in three feet of water the brave crew traveling speedily up and down rivers lakes stormy seas when no breeze flutters the sails The strange fearless shaven men continuously arrive preaching a new religion about just one God the Christ no matter how many lose their headsslowly a trickle of women children and a few men are baptized however it will spread but that is in the future At present Orm Red Tostesson is a young vigorous big man a boy really full of exciting stories he has heard from four older brothers All have gone on long raids some coming back with loot to tell the tales of foreign adventures legends made to be recited for many years of these exploits Still his influential concerned mother Asa keeps him home in southern Sweden called Skania though his father Toste is a famous warrior chieftain ruled by the Danish king Harald Bluetooth Yet constant Viking raids even against their own people in this turbulent dangerous times never stop; he is captured by enemies and fights the Moors in Spanish waters and becomes a galley slave then a prestigious bodyguard to the great Muslim ruler there Almansur and that is just the beginning Wars brutal sea battles heads fall faster than bowling balls hitting pins later an escape from an unfriendly situation with a treasure joining a Viking expedition on his own boat The vast wealth of England a weak English king Ethelred the Unready greedy men from the long ships well it is a perfect combination for a large fleet to plunder the inhabitants of the island and the red haired raider and his friend Toke Grey Gullsson a good man when sober but he seldom is do Luckily Father Willibald a better healer of wounds than a savior of souls is back home A third rousing uest by Red Orm into a puzzling territory that someday will become Russia the best Viking book ever written if you like thrills spills and chills by an author who knows his history well some of it Wild Horses (Saddle Club, northern fastnesses of Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean Bengtsson’s hero Red Orm canny courageous above all lucky is only a boy when he is abducted from his Danish home by the Vikings made to take his place at the oars of their dragon prowed ships Orm At the end of the dark tenth century Vikings and their ancient customs were changing rapidly the bold men sea pirates and land raiders didn't recognize it that was a fatal mistake the harsh climate of Norway Sweden and Denmark even distant Iceland slowly becoming At Sixes And Sevens nations did Save Rafe! (Middle School not make illiterate peasants there wealthy just the opposite much easier to rob than working on poor farms scratching a living in the unpredictable cold weather an unproductive soil The era of stealing the The Hand That First Held Mine neighbors goods murdering the defenders and taking their women would Ghost Light not last much longer A powerful force came to the ignorant Norsemen from a far away warm unknown dry desert land Something they could LDN Graffiti not stop with a slashing sword a thrust of the spear an arrow hitting a target or a stab of a knife into the soft bloody flesh You can't kill an idea with weapons which people want and Sworn to Silence needThe Viking ships long and Frog Is Frog narrow sails made of cloth oarsmen rowing tirelessly in three feet of water the brave crew traveling speedily up and down rivers lakes stormy seas when Doctor Who no breeze flutters the sails The strange fearless shaven men continuously arrive preaching a Secrets On Morgan Hill new religion about just one God the Christ Emma (Emma Trilogy no matter how many lose their headsslowly a trickle of women children and a few men are baptized however it will spread but that is in the future At present Orm Red Tostesson is a young vigorous big man a boy really full of exciting stories he has heard from four older brothers All have gone on long raids some coming back with loot to tell the tales of foreign adventures legends made to be recited for many years of these exploits Still his influential concerned mother Asa keeps him home in southern Sweden called Skania though his father Toste is a famous warrior chieftain ruled by the Danish king Harald Bluetooth Yet constant Viking raids even against their own people in this turbulent dangerous times Conversations with James Baldwin never stop; he is captured by enemies and fights the Moors in Spanish waters and becomes a galley slave then a prestigious bodyguard to the great Muslim ruler there Almansur and that is just the beginning Wars brutal sea battles heads fall faster than bowling balls hitting pins later an escape from an unfriendly situation with a treasure joining a Viking expedition on his own boat The vast wealth of England a weak English king Ethelred the Unready greedy men from the long ships well it is a perfect combination for a large fleet to plunder the inhabitants of the island and the red haired raider and his friend Toke Grey Gullsson a good man when sober but he seldom is do Luckily Father Willibald a better healer of wounds than a savior of souls is back home A third rousing uest by Red Orm into a puzzling territory that someday will become Russia the best Viking book ever written if you like thrills spills and chills by an author who knows his history well some of it

Free read Röde Orm

Röde Orm

Is then captured by the Moors in Spain where he's initiated into the pleasures of the senses fights for the Caliph of Cordova Escaping from captivity Orm washes up in Ireland where he marvels at those epicene creatures the Christian monks from which he then moves on to play an ever important part in the intrigues of the various Scandinavian kings clans dependencies Eventually Orm contributes Brilliant comic novel about life in Viking Sweden Those Vikings were real tough dudes My favorite bit is the seuence with Orm's first captain who has a run of bad luck and ends up being captured and sold into slavery The overseer knows he used to be a big guy and takes special delight in tormenting him but the former captain waits for his chance One day while they're working in a shipyard they're close to a barrel of boiling pitch; he picks up the hated overseer and dumps him in head first He's immediately run through with three spears but has time for some last words He looks calmly around him and says Nu är min lycka bättre My luck has finally improvedI have just finished re reading this wonderful book; I have now read it three times There is hardly any novel I know which is so simply enjoyable The author said that his modest goal was to wrote a good story like The Odyssey or The Three Musketeers In my estimation and that of many others he succeeded; he has also been fortunate in having found a good translator and the English edition though not uite as fine as the Swedish original does not fall far short If you have not already done so I recommend that you lose no time in acuainting yourself with Orm Tostesson Toke Grågulleson the lord Almansur the Jew Salaman King Harald Blåtand his beautiful daughter Ylva and their many unforgettable adventures The World of Rafael Salas novel about life in Viking Sweden Those Vikings were real tough dudes My favorite bit is the seuence with Orm's first captain who has a run of bad luck and ends up being captured and sold into slavery The overseer knows he used to be a big guy and takes special delight in tormenting him but the former captain waits for his chance One day while they're working in a shipyard they're close to a barrel of boiling pitch; he picks up the hated overseer and dumps him in head first He's immediately run through with three spears but has time for some last words He looks calmly around him and says Nu är min lycka bättre My luck has finally improvedI have just finished re reading this wonderful book; I have Camping Makes Me Happy now read it three times There is hardly any Idols for Destruction novel I know which is so simply enjoyable The author said that his modest goal was to wrote a good story like The Odyssey or The Three Musketeers In my estimation and that of many others he succeeded; he has also been fortunate in having found a good translator and the English edition though The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant not uite as fine as the Swedish original does Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum, not fall far short If you have The End of the Line not already done so I recommend that you lose The Ear Book no time in acuainting yourself with Orm Tostesson Toke Grågulleson the lord Almansur the Jew Salaman King Harald Blåtand his beautiful daughter Ylva and their many unforgettable adventures

Read & download ð PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Û Frans G. Bengtsson

To the Viking defeat of the army of the king of England returns home an off the cuff Christian a very rich man tho back on his native turf new trials tribulations will test his cunning determination Packed with pitched battles blood feuds told throughout with wit high spirits Bengtsson’s book is a splendid adventure that features one of the most unexpectedly winning heroes in modern ficti A five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year 1000? Sure why not? This book has got booty than a Sir Mix a Lot video rimshot Of course I mean old school booty as in creaky wooden chests filled with gold coins and jewel encrusted amulets Red Orm is our hero a strangely lovable barbarian who begins the novel as a pubescent naif and ends it as a wealthy chieftain Oops spoiler alert retroactive I'm not really giving anything away there This is very much an old fashioned epic of seafaring treasure hunting and grisly spear fighting so there's little doubt that that things end well for the protagonist—which isn't to say that he doesn't have to steer his painted dragon ship through many a shitstorm to arrive at the happy ending Anyway people who lived in Scandinavia one thousand years ago were some hardcore mofos I'm not implying that non Scandinavian people were pussies but I haven't read any novels about them so they're temporarily irrelevant Life's pretty cheap to this sort One day everything is status uo and the next day they're at a drunken feast fighting to the death with some Swedish lug for giving them the stinkeye And nobody bats an eyelash This is just another day In other words don't make any longterm goals because any day now someone could split your skull in half Maybe even by accident thinking you were Smalander when you were really from Lister But it's just no big deal Your family washes out your chainmail and asks what's for dinner There is a lack of sentimentality in Y1K that makes the Seinfeld final episode look like a Douglas Sirk movie Bengtsson I think realized that this could be a problem for modern audiences so he gives us a relatively honorable and 'good' Viking to follow around Don't get me wrong Red Orm is all about killing for booty but he lets the other dude attack first so he can take the moral high ground But needless to say when you're dealing with a five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year 1000 you start out a little skeptical maybe This doesn't exactly sound like something to read while you're waiting for your oil to be changed But this novel has received some pretty rapturous acclaim from blurbsters the world over In fact one female reviewer made a case that even chicks would dig this book I don't know about that I mean maybe a certain type of chick I'm thinking a Renaissance Faire chick or one who enjoys role playing games And that's still a maybe I think the so called universal appeal of this novel is somewhat overstated Yes it is a rollicking adventure but that's all it is If you're looking for —like literary substance and profound meaning—go pick up a VC Andrews novel for Chrissake That's not what The Long Ships is trying to sell you This is the tentpole movie of literary fiction Approach it as such and enjoy