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The Long Ships : A Saga of the Viking Age Alfred A. Knopf Frans G. Bengtsson


11th July 2013 Literature & Fiction 0 Comments

This saga brings alive the world of the 10th century AD when the Vikings raided the coasts of England. Acclaimed as one of the best historical novels ever written, this engaging saga of Viking adventure in 10th century northern Europe has a very appealing young hero, Orm Tostesson, whose story we follow from inexperienced youth to adventurous old age, through slavery and adventure to a royal marriage and the search for great treasure. Viking expeditions take him to lands as far apart as England, Moorish Spain, Gaardarike (the country that was to become Russia), and the long road to Miklagard. The salt-sea spray, the swaying deck awash in slippery blood are the backdrop to fascinating stories of King Harald Blue Tooth, the Jomsvikings, attempts to convert the Northmen to Christianity, and much else. Like H. Rider Haggard, Bengtsson is a master of the epic form.

“It’s terrific fun, the kind of book that moves the fustiest of critics to pronounce it a rollicking yarn or something to that effect.Translation for us mere mortals: There are no boring parts to skip…Bengtsson writes the most delightful version of historical fiction…Here is the buried treasure, readers, newly unearthed. Now, go forth and read.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“The literary equivalent of an action- and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won’t insult your intelligence…Orm is a charismatic character, and Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer — even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages. All novels should be so lucky as to age this well.” –NPR

“A household name in Scandinavian literature since its publication during World War II, the titleThe Long Shipsis recognizable to English-speakers, if at all, from a tenuously related 1964 epic with Sidney Poitier.New York Review Books reckons to remedy that with this 500-page hunk chronicling 20 years in the life of Red Orm,a son of Skania, born during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, who first goes a-viking as a teen….Andif the company of so many burly, bearded heroes can weary, Bengtsson’s clear-eyed witnessing of a new world dawning does not.”—L Magazine

“This extraordinary saga of epic adventure on land and sea…is a masterpiece of historical fiction…The Long Ships should be a rare delight. And not least of the rewards of reading Mr. Bengtsson’s gorgeous romance is the sly humor that is sprinkled through it.” -Orville Prescott, The New York Times

Bengtsson “keeps his readers eager for the next chapter. He has a sharp eye for the picturesque and the comic in daily living, and though his style is sophisticated he often writes with a kind of festive abandon.” -Hudson Strode The New York Herald Tribune

“This is a lusty man’s book that women, too, will enjoy.” -Margaret Widdemer, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The Long Ships has many virtues of the true story-teller’s art…Under the merriment and the fighting there is a great deal of scholarship as sound as it is imperceptible. Reading this marvelously good-humored ale-broth of a book, you say: this is how it must have been to be a Viking chief a thousand years ago. And not such a bad life at that.” -Burke Wilkinson, The New York Times

A “wonderful adventure novel…” -Phillip French, The Observer

“Offers lusty Vikings lusting and looting, bedding and battling across Europe from the Ebro to the Dneiper.” -Time Magazine

“A splendidly robust saga of the Vikings…crackles with humour.” -Daily Telegraph

“The author and his excellent translator bring that old, warrior world alive with such vigorous enjoyment and simplicity that the deeds of those men roving about the world in their dragon ships seem as marvelous as those of our atomic age.” -Daily Telegraph

“A boldly illuminated picture of the Northmen…confidently recommended.” -The Times (London)

“A remarkable panorama of a vanished way of life.” -Times Literary Supplement

“A banquet of adventure by sea and land, with man-size helpings of battle and murder, robbery and rape.” -New Statesman

“Lusty and uninhibited…a tour de force.” -Evening News

“Still the king of books about Vikings…the Vikings liked to row and sail and fight. That’s what they do in this action-packed epic.” -Bookmarks Magazine

“Even though The Long Ships was first published in 1941, it remains the literary equivalent of an action-and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won’t insult your intelligence…Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer–even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages.”

–Michael Schaub, NPR.org

–This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Frans G. Bengtsson, Swedish essayist, novelist, poet, and biographer, was born in Tossjo, near Kristianstad, as the son of the manager of an estate in Skane. Bengtsson was the first successful practitioner of the informal essay in Sweden, a genre that he virtually introduced to the literature of his own country. His best-known novel is Rode orm (1941-45, The Long Ships), a Viking saga written in an ornate and romantic style. –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

“It’s terrific fun, the kind of book that moves the fustiest of critics to pronounce it a rollicking yarn or something to that effect.Translation for us mere mortals: There are no boring parts to skip…Bengtsson writes the most delightful version of historical fiction…Here is the buried treasure, readers, newly unearthed. Now, go forth and read.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“The literary equivalent of an action- and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won’t insult your intelligence…Orm is a charismatic character, and Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer — even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages. All novels should be so lucky as to age this well.” –NPR

“A household name in Scandinavian literature since its publication during World War II, the titleThe Long Shipsis recognizable to English-speakers, if at all, from a tenuously related 1964 epic with Sidney Poitier.New York Review Books reckons to remedy that with this 500-page hunk chronicling 20 years in the life of Red Orm,a son of Skania, born during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, who first goes a-viking as a teen….Andif the company of so many burly, bearded heroes can weary, Bengtsson’s clear-eyed witnessing of a new world dawning does not.”—L Magazine

“This extraordinary saga of epic adventure on land and sea…is a masterpiece of historical fiction…The Long Ships should be a rare delight. And not least of the rewards of reading Mr. Bengtsson’s gorgeous romance is the sly humor that is sprinkled through it.” -Orville Prescott, The New York Times

Bengtsson “keeps his readers eager for the next chapter. He has a sharp eye for the picturesque and the comic in daily living, and though his style is sophisticated he often writes with a kind of festive abandon.” -Hudson Strode The New York Herald Tribune

“This is a lusty man’s book that women, too, will enjoy.” -Margaret Widdemer, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The Long Ships has many virtues of the true story-teller’s art…Under the merriment and the fighting there is a great deal of scholarship as sound as it is imperceptible. Reading this marvelously good-humored ale-broth of a book, you say: this is how it must have been to be a Viking chief a thousand years ago. And not such a bad life at that.” -Burke Wilkinson, The New York Times

A “wonderful adventure novel…” -Phillip French, The Observer

“Offers lusty Vikings lusting and looting, bedding and battling across Europe from the Ebro to the Dneiper.” -Time Magazine

“A splendidly robust saga of the Vikings…crackles with humour.” -Daily Telegraph

“The author and his excellent translator bring that old, warrior world alive with such vigorous enjoyment and simplicity that the deeds of those men roving about the world in their dragon ships seem as marvelous as those of our atomic age.” -Daily Telegraph

“A boldly illuminated picture of the Northmen…confidently recommended.” -The Times

“A remarkable panorama of a vanished way of life.” -Times Literary Supplement

“A banquet of adventure by sea and land, with man-size helpings of battle and murder, robbery and rape.” -New Statesman

“Lusty and uninhibited…a tour de force.” -Evening News

“Still the king of books about Vikings…the Vikings liked to row and sail and fight. That’s what they do in this action-packed epic.” -Bookmarks Magazine

“Even though The Long Ships was first published in 1941, it remains the literary equivalent of an action-and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won’t insult your intelligence…Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer–even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages.”

–Michael Schaub, NPR.org

–This text refers to the Paperback edition.

The Long Ships : A Saga of the Viking Age










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