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Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway & Denmark

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway & Denmark

Postby Margaret » Fri July 22nd, 2011, 6:44 am

Just posted a review of Jan Guillou's excellent novel The Road to Jerusalem, the first in a trilogy about medieval Swedes in the Crusades. This first novel is set entirely in Sweden, featuring the main character's coming of age and foreshadowing his later career as a Templar Knight. For a novel that's basically a set-up for the main show, it's darn good - twelfth-century Sweden is a fascinating setting, and the story is eventful and full of humor. I definitely want to read the sequels - but I'll almost be disappointed to have the setting shift to the Middle East, which is saying something!

Although a lot of Viking adventure stories have been written, there are not too many novels about medieval Scandinavians at home - at least not in English translation. Sigrid Undset is rightfully praised for her Kristen Lavransdatter trilogy, which starts with The Bridal Wreath (see review). The novels are wonderfully vivid in portraying the characters and the setting in medieval Norway - however, I found them a bit depressing.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Fri July 22nd, 2011, 8:04 am

I do think it's a shame that the follow-up novel to Guillou's Crusades trilogy has never been published in English translation. Arvet efter Arn (Arn's Heritage) tells the story of Birgir Jarl, the founder of Stockholm, making him Arn Magnusson's grandson for the purposes of the book. It takes Sweden from the remnants of Viking culture to a unified country in the continental Eurpoean model. I'd really like to read it, but unfortunately it doesn't have any Templars in it to tempt an English publisher!

Several Viking adventures have reasonably long passages spent at home- Paul Watson's Thunder God and Frans Bengtssen Long Ships, for example, and Judson Roberts' YA book Viking Warrior. Anya Seton's Avalon and Nadine Crenshaw's Viking Gold also spend lengthy periods in Scandinavia.

And one I spotted recently - a reissue in English translation of Johannes V Jensen's opus, Fall of the King, due for release Sept 2011 - rather later than medieval, though.
"Taking place during the first half of the sixteenth century, "The Fall of the King" tells the story of dreamy, slacking student Mikkel Thogersen and the entanglements that ultimately bring him into service as a mercenary under King Christian II of Denmark. Moving from the Danish countryside to Stockholm during the execution of Swedish nobility and finally to the imprisonment of Mikkel and Christian, the narrative is a lyrical encapsulation of 'the fall'--the fall of country, history, individuals, and nature."
Last edited by annis on Sat July 23rd, 2011, 8:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Veronica
Avid Reader
Location: NT, Australia

Postby Veronica » Thu September 22nd, 2011, 1:27 am

Suggestions:

The Royal Physician's Visit - Per Olov Enquist
The Book about Blanche and Marie- Per Olov Enquist
The Emigrants - Vilhelm Moberg (Swedes emigrating to America, 3 books in the series and all translated into English)
[SIZE="3"]"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"[/SIZE]

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Thu September 22nd, 2011, 5:28 pm

Thanks, Veronica! I'll have to try some of these. I really enjoyed the setting.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Veronica
Avid Reader
Location: NT, Australia

Postby Veronica » Wed September 28th, 2011, 2:47 am

No worries.

Hanna's daughters - Marianne Fredriksson, is another book which spans over 3 generations. Starting from year 1871 I think. This book was very popular when it came out in Sweden many years ago and it must have been something good about it since it was translated into English. However I did not like it at all and can not even remember the storyline.
Last edited by Veronica on Wed September 28th, 2011, 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
[SIZE="3"]"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"[/SIZE]

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 28th, 2011, 5:05 am

The Thrall's Tale, about Viking Greenland circa 980 AD. Can't remember the author, but it was interesting. Not too sure how I would rate it.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Wed September 28th, 2011, 2:12 pm

If you are interested in works outside the Viking era, I've enjoyed several of Selma Lagerlöf's novels.

Her children's novel, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, is not just for children, especially if you enjoy mythology and folklore. I think she was commissioned to write it as part of a program to teach Swedish geography to children. I also really liked Gösta Berlings Saga (a book I plan to read again). I've read the first of the Löwenskölds Ring trilogy, but finding a readable copy in English translation of books 2 & 3 have been challenging.

User avatar
The Czar
Reader
Location: Nashville TN

Postby The Czar » Fri September 30th, 2011, 1:42 am

"annis" wrote:Several Viking adventures have reasonably long passages spent at home- Paul Watson's Thunder God and Frans Bengtssen Long Ships, for example, and Judson Roberts' YA book Viking Warrior. Anya Seton's Avalon and Nadine Crenshaw's Viking Gold also spend lengthy periods in Scandinavia.



I loved that book, it is excellent.

I also really really loved Byzantium, by Michael Ennis. It isn't set in Scandinavia, but is a tale of a Norwegian prince who becomes a captain in the Varangian Guard in Constantinople, and ultimately returns home to claim his kingdom, and invade England. It is a damn shame its out of print, as it is one of my favorite HF ever.

Oh, and check out the new "Book of the Month" section... next year it is montly themes, and February is "Viking Month"
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
_______________________________________________
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Fri September 30th, 2011, 4:17 am

The Thrall's Tale, about Viking Greenland circa 980 AD. Can't remember the author, but it was interesting. Not too sure how I would rate it.


Judith Lindbergh wrote The Thrall's Tale. I read it when it first came out. The prose is very stylized, giving it the flavor of a Viking saga, which distracted me from the story at first, but as I got used to it, I got more absorbed in the story. It's a tale of vengeance, and although the central character was certainly entitled to her anger, I found her too consumed by it to be really sympathetic. At the same time, she was unusual enough to be interesting. The novel leans toward dark magical realism rather than fantasy.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

long ships

Postby Kveto from Prague » Wed December 28th, 2011, 5:47 pm

Hey. Anybody ever read "the Long Ships" by Frans Bengtsson (translated by Micheal Meyer). Every review Ive read on it seems to consider it a true jem that few outside scandinavia know of.
http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2010/06/28/the-fly-leaf-the-long-ships/

I only know the film fom the 60s with Sydney Poiter sporting an outrageous accent, mostly forgettable.

But the book iteslf sounds to be a real hoot.


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