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We talk so much about writing around here that it’s easy to forget we are voracious readers too. With this new thematic approach I’m trialling, I thought it would be nice to add a regular reading segment to the mix as well.
Around the same time each night Sir Bear calls it a day and carries pet to bed. We snuggle up together and read until sleep claims us. Well, truth be told it is mainly Sir who does the reading while pet does the snuggling, but the effect is the same. Stories are consumed. In vast quantities. So, from now on I’m going to spill the ink about some of the gems that have been lighting up our nights.
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
Many a tale has been spun about the Vikings and their voyages, but nothing compares to this classic gem. The Long Ships is book 26 on our summer reads list and book bingo bingo card. It is also our current audiobook treat and the book that first kindled my interest in Norse mythology and Scandi history. I would even go as far as to say there would be no Ulfrheim today if I hadn’t stumbled across this book when I was looting my grandfather’s bookcase in my early teens.
Swedish readers will know this book as Röde Orm (red serpent/dragon), the tale about young Orm who was abducted from his Scanian home by a Viking raiding party.
The story begins in the year 982 and follows Orm on his travels. We get to experience Viking life, work as a galley slave for Andalusian Muslims and, later, as a member of Almansur’s bodyguard.
After a few years, Orm is sent out raiding again and ends up in Harald Bluetooth’s Denmark. He visits Ireland and England and, later on, travels west to Dnieper weirs in Kievan Rus.
This is a brilliant adventure and a must-read for anyone writing, or planning to write, stories set in this time. Bengtsson managed to capture the spirit of the Icelandic sagas. It is exciting, packed with historical facts, funny and a punch in the face of the nazis who tried to steal our heritage and make it theirs. And if that’s not enough, there’s Orm, this loveable, flame-haired, hypochondriac, anti-hero you can’t help but root for.
This book also has an intro by the author of book #1 on our list, Michael Chabon, who has waxed lyrical about it in interviews. Written in 1941, it is still easily one of the best adventure novels out there. A Swedish Odyssey.
Have you read this book? We would love to hear your thoughts about it!
Would you like to read this book? Here’s a quick link to amazon.com:
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of an imaginary pirate ship, a weaver of stories, and a certified pain in the arse.
Named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a fiery fallen angel, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.
When Linnea’s not busy commanding the Resilience, or lost in one of her daydreams, she pens fantasy steeped in Norse myth and Scandi folklore as Saga Linnea Söderberg, or Sweet’n’Spicy spoonie smut as Linn Rhinehart together with her Sir Bear.