John Andrews is the pen name of an amateur historian of Norwegian descent who is very familiar with the literature on the Viking Age. At an early age, he taught himself to read Gothic Script so he could read some of his grandfather’s 19th Century history books. He lives in southern Wisconsin and has traveled often and extensively in Norway in the lands where King Harald once ruled. He believes that these old stories are worth bringing to modern readers, but he always wished that there had been more information in them. This book is an attempt to address both his belief and his wish.
A Viking's Storyby John Andrews
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Don't let the sexy dragon on the cover fool you! This isn't one of those romance-novel viking stories that tells of the sullen-but-oversexed warrior and the captive maiden who succumbs to him. This book is an interpretation of the life of King Harald the Fair-Haired from the great sagas from the Icelandic literature of the Middle Ages. Most notably, it draws on the Heimskringla and Egil’s Saga. They tell the stories of the Viking Age with a spare elegance that leaves one hungry for details and sometimes a little puzzled. How could anyone fall for the crude and transparent machinations of the Hildiridarssons as set out in Egil’s Saga?
The beauty of that “spare elegance” is that it allows the addition of details without worrying too much about trampling on History. The author tried to use the most up-to-date research to discuss such things as the hall at Agvaldsnes (Avaldsnes) and the identity of the mounds on Karmøy. It was recently thought that Harald or his grandson Guttorm Eriksson was the occupant of one of those mounds, but dendrochronology shows that the burial took place in the eighth century, well before Harald’s birth.
The kingdom Harald forged was probably not called “Norway” in his time, so that term is not used. Harald ruled the “Kingdom of the North Land”, or “of the Norsemen/Nordmen”. It was the strait that went between Karmøy and Haugesund, the “Nord Vegr” – the North Road or Way, that gave its name to the country; the land of the North Way: Norway.
Mr. Andrews is a frequent traveler to Norway and has visited many of the places he’s written about. Hafrsfjord is now marked by three huge swords jutting up from the rock, and the island where the losing king Kjotvi sought refuge is now a peninsula due to the rising of the land over the past 1200 years. The rock lean-to on Ullandhaug really exists as does a Viking-age grave in the ruins of a longhouse not far away. He is particularly fond of Ullandhaug since he has family there.
The rock carvings at Solbakk and the mounds, now found in front of the Strand Church near Tau also exist, and the sites can be seen from the tower that now stands on Ullandhaug. Also real is the hole through the mountain on Torg. The beauty of the long, golden light in the evenings is true as well as is the white fur on the tails of the bumblebees and the ubiquitous sounds of the waterfalls.
Harald’s mound, probably an existing Bronze Age mound, was reconstructed in 1872, where the authorities of the day thought it should stand. The stone that lies at the base is said to be the actual stone that lay over the grave chamber in the original mound.
Once again,there is a fictitious troll sighting, but no hard-core viking/captive sex. This book is autobiographical fiction based on a real character and, for the most part, recorded events.
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