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Books about Norse mythology

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Lauryn
Reader
Location: Vancouver, CA

Postby Lauryn » Wed June 24th, 2009, 9:26 pm

"Carla" wrote:I really like Kevin Crossley-Holland's retelling of the myths. "The Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings". Penguin, 1980, ISBN 0-14-006056-1. It isn't a novel, it's a retelling of the myths (mainly from Snorri Sturluson' Prose Edda) in modern English, so it reads a bit like a short story collection. The characters and events are every bit as vivid as any novel.


The latest publication from "The House of Tolkein"* is The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun, which is JRR's version of the Elder Edda / Volsung epic. I have to admit, it's written in such a way that I think I'd rather listen to it than read it, but nonetheless vivid.

*I find I'm getting increasingly impatient with Christopher's editorializing on his late father's academic and creative genius. I do agree that JRR did some marvellous work in both spheres of influence, but I think it might be time for Christopher to let that work speak for itself. YMMV.
Even the mighty oak was once just a nut that held its ground.

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Charliekat
Scribbler

Postby Charliekat » Wed June 24th, 2009, 9:55 pm

Wow thanks for all the suggestions everybody!

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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 » Wed June 24th, 2009, 11:36 pm

Those Poul Anderson novels listed on your site, Margaret, seem very interesting. I've always been intrigued by Harold Hardrada. I don't know where I'll track them down though.


Alas, the links at http://www.HistoricalNovels.info go to U.S. online booksellers only (although Powell's will ship outside the country for a price). What's Australia's Interlibrary Loan system like?
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

Postby Kveto from Prague » Thu June 25th, 2009, 1:28 pm

Poul Andersen to me would be your best bet. "The broken sword" has a lot of cameos by norse gods, as well as trolls and elves (all cleverly explained and set on the "real earth")

Harry Harrison wrote some alternative history about a slave boy named shef that features some norse gods I think the first was called "the hammer and sword" or something akin to that.

there must be some books focused on the gods themselves but i cant think of any right now (other than "Thor" comic books)


K

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Fri June 26th, 2009, 8:33 am

Just trying to think of a few, Keny

Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" plays with the concept of the Norse gods rehomed in America.

L.Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt "Incompleat Enchanter" a story where the protagonist finds himself in Asgard, where he allies himself with the Æsir as Ragnarök approaches.

Joanne Harris' YA novel "Runemarks" is an entertaining story featuring the Norse gods.

Thorarinn Gunnarsson
"Song of the Dwarves" and "Revenge of the Valkyrie"

And an old favourite of mine, a deliciously creepy story called "Dragon Under The Hill" by Gordon Honeycombe. A young boy disturbs the grave of a Viking warrior, setting tragic events in motion. Odin lurks about, popping up periodically in a hat and raincoat from memory.
Last edited by annis on Sat June 27th, 2009, 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Eigon
Reader
Location: Hay-on-Wye, Town of Books
Contact:

Postby Eigon » Tue June 30th, 2009, 7:47 pm

I remember Gordon Honeycombe as a newsreader!

Tom Holt wrote a rather good comic novel called Who's Afraid of Beowulf? It involves an archaeological dig waking up some Vikings. Their berserker is rather sweet - well, he's called Honey Bjorn because he's sweet and thick!

Douglas Adams' Long Dark Teatime of the Soul involves Norse gods, too - it's one of his Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency novels, and Valhalla can be reached via one of London's railway stations. It was done on Radio 4 recently, and was very good.

StevenTill
Newbie
Contact:

Postby StevenTill » Fri September 11th, 2009, 3:24 pm

I recently finished a new book called Ice Land by Betsy Tobin. It deals with Norse mythology and uses some of the Norse gods as main characters in the novel. I really enjoyed it. The prose is beautiful and poetic. You can read my review of it on my site if you like:

http://steventill.com/2009/08/26/review-of-ice-land-by-betsy-tobin/

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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) » Fri September 11th, 2009, 4:36 pm

There's the Thrall's Tale, which is more HF with a touch of the Norse mysticism.

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Sat September 12th, 2009, 4:41 am

"Eigon" wrote:Douglas Adams' Long Dark Teatime of the Soul involves Norse gods, too - it's one of his Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency novels, and Valhalla can be reached via one of London's railway stations. It was done on Radio 4 recently, and was very good.


Next to Hitchiker Guide to the Galaxy, this is my favorite book of Adams. Its great fun, and very interesting.

Personally, I learned more about the Norse mythology reading the old sagas, than I learned reading non fiction texts on the subject. I took a Scandinavian lit class (unplanned; I showed up late for registration and it was the only lit class that was still open!), we read all those sagas. Fascinating stuff. Njal's Saga comes to mind immeditately, but I know there were others.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat September 12th, 2009, 7:07 am

Posted by Steven T
I recently finished a new book called Ice Land by Betsy Tobin. It deals with Norse mythology and uses some of the Norse gods as main characters in the novel. I really enjoyed it. The prose is beautiful and poetic. You can read my review of it on my site if you like:


Thanks for the review, Steven. I've had this one on my wish list since seeing it mentioned on Ariadne's Reading the Past blog.

Good to see you back on the Historical Fiction forum too.


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