Dragons from the Sea (The Strongbow Saga Series #2)

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Overview

Halfdan Hroriksson has a longbow that he made himself, an axe he took from a man he killed, and a vow to fulfill. He's sworn to slay the man who murdered his brother.

But first Halfdan must find a ship's captain who will take him i-viking, where he can master the skills and make the allies his vengeance will demand. Once a slave, now a free man and a warrior, Halfdan leaves home to find what the fates have in store for him: a taste of war, a dangerous mission in a foreign land, ...

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Dragons from the Sea

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Overview

Halfdan Hroriksson has a longbow that he made himself, an axe he took from a man he killed, and a vow to fulfill. He's sworn to slay the man who murdered his brother.

But first Halfdan must find a ship's captain who will take him i-viking, where he can master the skills and make the allies his vengeance will demand. Once a slave, now a free man and a warrior, Halfdan leaves home to find what the fates have in store for him: a taste of war, a dangerous mission in a foreign land, and an unexpected prisoner whose ransom may make Halfdan rich—or who may get him killed.

Continuing the fast-paced, heart-pounding adventure that started in Viking Warrior, Judson Roberts sweeps readers into the world of the Vikings with a tale of battle, revenge, and a boy on his way to becoming a warrior . . . a hero . . . perhaps even a legend.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Megan Isaac
Freed from thralldom but now also without family or friends, teenage Halfdan is alone and hunted in a rugged world. Fortunately his skill as an archer enables him to win a place amid the crew of the Gull, led by the Viking jarl Hastein in this sequel to Viking Warrior (HarperCollins, 2006/VOYA October 2006). Halfdan's youthfulness, inexperience, and anger lead him into difficulties with the older Vikings and provide him with opportunities to make a name for himself among them as they begin a violent campaign against the Franks. Rich historical detail informs Roberts's descriptions of the activities that occupy and codes of behavior that motivate his characters. Roberts's historicism falters only is his construction of Halfdan's ethical character. Halfdan's distaste for rape, unnecessary bloodshed, vicious looting, and heavy drinking sometimes has the effect of making him look like a particularly earnest Boy Scout among his peers. Constructing a hero with modern appeal in an era with a different system of justice and radically different views of human rights demands a balancing act that leaves the author teetering. Nonetheless readers will sympathize with Halfdan's feelings of awkwardness and isolation and enjoy his efforts to prove himself. Halfdan's fortuitous but unanticipated capture of a malcontent young noblewoman near the end of this volume leaves plenty of room for further development both of his tormented heart and his ragged reputation in the next book of The Strongbow Saga. Roberts writes a worthy novel that is sure to find an audience among lovers of adventure and history.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
Through a lucky twist of fate, orphan and former slave Halfdan Hroriksson is accepted by Jarl Hastein to serve with him on the Viking warship Gull . Although only 15, Halfdan has an uncanny skill with the longbow. It is through his ability, honesty, and strength of character that he is grudgingly accepted as a member of the crew. While serving his newfound lord, the teen hopes not only to find adventure and riches, but also to bring to justice the man who murdered his brother and then stole his inheritance. The story begins a bit slowly, but soon readers will be engaged in the adventure and the grit and gore of the ninth century. The book ends abruptly, with the promise of a continued story line in the future. It will be difficult to understand as a stand-alone, due in part to the complexity of the plot and the specifics of the time period, but fans of Viking Warrior (HarperCollins, 2006) will enjoy it.
—Melissa Christy BuronCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060813000
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/12/2007
  • Series: Strongbow Saga Series , #2
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Over his long and varied career, Judson Roberts has been a police officer, federal agent, organized crime prosecutor, and private investigator. He is a distant descendant of Rollo, also known as Rolf or Hrolf, the Viking leader who in 911 AD entered into a treaty with the King of the Western Franks and was granted the lands located around the mouth of the Seine River which eventually became known as Normandy, after the Northmen who settled there. He currently lives on a small farm near Eugene, Oregon, where he is working on the next volume in the Strongbow Saga series.
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First Chapter

The Strongbow Saga, Book Two: Dragons from the Sea

Chapter One

Hedeby

Early in the year the Christians number the eight hundred and forty-fifth after the birth of their God the White Christ, my fate led me to the outskirts of Hedeby, the largest town in all the kingdom of the Danes. I arrived there in the late afternoon, tired, hungry, and sore from spending many days atop a horse. At least I had not suffered too badly from the cold on my journey. Though by measure of days it was still the last weeks of winter, the weather had been unseasonably warm ever since the Jul feast, and on the day I reached Hedeby there was a freshness in the air that hinted of the coming of spring.

Hedeby was not just a town. It was a fortress that squatted, fat and solid, against the shore of a shallow inlet along one side of the Sliefjord, a long, narrow gash of the sea cutting deep into the eastern coast of Jutland. A deep ditch ran in a half circle from shore to shore around the entire town. The earth dug from the ditch had been piled behind it to form an earthen wall, which was topped with a wooden palisade.

I paused my horse at the edge of the woods and stared out across the open land that lay between me and the walls of Hedeby. Because of the season, the fields were still bare, with only low, weathered stubble from the remains of last year's crops showing gray against the soil like a grizzled growth of beard against an old man's cheek.

My mare tugged impatiently at the reins, urging me toward the food and shelter to be found in the town. She'd been mine only a matter of days. I had taken her from a dead man. Indeed, much of the gearI carried—my iron helm, my shield, my leather jerkin and small-axe, and even the meager hoard of silver pennies in the leather pouch at my belt—I'd taken from men who were dead. Men I had killed. Only the clothes on my back, the long, heavy bow I carried, and the fine dagger in my belt were truly mine. The dagger had been a gift from Harald, my half-brother and my teacher. He'd given it to me to honor my attaining the age of fifteen, and manhood. It seemed so long ago—had it truly been only a matter of days? The dagger was one of two gifts Harald had given me that night. The other was my life.

Still concealed within the final fringe of trees, I ignored my horse's urgings and sat staring at the town. It was not too late to turn back, and I dearly wished to, for my heart had suddenly filled with fear. Fear of the unknown, in part, for I had never seen a town so huge, nor even imagined so many people together in one place. Even more, though, I was afraid I would not measure up to whatever lay ahead.

I feared the fate that the Norns, the three ancient sisters who set the course of all men's lives, were weaving for me. How could I possibly succeed at the tasks ahead of me? By my years I was now reckoned a man, and admittedly I was tall and strong for my age. But I was alone, all alone, and in my heart, a part of me still felt like a child and longed for someone to turn to for guidance. There was no one, though. All whom I had previously relied upon in times of need—my mother, my brother, even his men—were now dead. The Norns had cut their life-threads and left me to face my fate on my own.

Shame at my own cowardice finally drove me forward. I knew I had to face my fear and overcome it, or I would dishonor myself. I owed a blood-debt. I had deaths I had sworn to avenge.

I kicked my heels against my mare's ribs and we headed down the road that led through pastures and fields toward Hedeby's gate—gaping like a missing tooth in the wall surrounding the town. Ahead, the road crossed a dry moat over a wooden bridge and disappeared through the opening in the wall beyond.

As I drew nearer, I saw an armed warrior was standing guard on the wall beside the gate. He watched my approach, looking out over the sharpened points of the stockade's timbers with a bored expression on his face. The late afternoon sun glinted on his polished helm and mail brynie, and made the sharpened blade of the spear he held flash like fire.

My horse's hooves thumped across the planks of the bridge like a slow drumbeat. As I reached the opening in the wall, three more warriors came into view, squatting on the rampart behind the guard, rolling dice. They were, I knew, warriors from the king's household, royal housecarls who'd been commanded by their lord to protect the town and collect the king's share of the trade that passed through its busy market.

I wondered if they were on the lookout for an outlaw and murderer. That was the lie told about me by the leader of the men who'd killed my brother, Harald. Had the tale made its way this far south? Had it reached Hedeby before me?

I forced a blank, unconcerned expression on my face as I rode through the gate, though my stomach felt twisted into knots and I had to remind myself to breathe. I was prepared to wheel my horse and ride for the forest if the guard challenged me, but he did not. As I passed him, he leaned his spear against the log wall of the palisade and squatted down to join his companions' game. I breathed a silent sigh of relief and entered the town.

Once inside the wall, the dirt track I'd been following became a paved . . .

The Strongbow Saga, Book Two: Dragons from the Sea. Copyright © by Judson Roberts. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 16, 2011

    EXCELLENT SERIES

    Very page turin

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read, leaves you wanting more!!

    Fast paced action, left me wanting more!

    The plot is a masterpiece. Perfectly woven to tell a wonderful tale. Perfectly written.

    The story opens with Halfdan journeying to find employment on a ship so he can gain wealth for his ultimate quest, to avenge his brother's murder. He soon becomes part of a crew and his true warrior training begins. Through battles and trials his honor is tested. However, his ultimate test comes in the form of a prisoner.

    I like the struggle Halfdan continues to face in this book, his moral compass. How he judges's circumstances based on honor. As a former slave and now a warrior, two worlds that can't be more different and how he uses that to interpret honor and how he is not willing to compromise. Does he always make the right decisions? No, but he grows from each choice he makes.

    Judson also gives us Geneviev, a valuable prisoner that Halfdan hopes will bring him riches. She is feisty and exactly what Halfdan needs. The added spark of romance is a perfect touch to the story. It opens up another side of Halfdan. The perfect example is also my favorite thought in the book, "I feel asleep beside a source of ransom, a hope of wealth. I awoke beside a women."

    I will say the ending is abrupt and the reader is left wanting more. Much more.

    I give this book 4 STACKS

    Stacy, who immediately picked up The Road to Vengeance

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com

    The year is 845 A.D. and fifteen-year-old Halfdan Hroriksson vows to find and kill the man who murdered his brother, Harald. He travels to the fortress, Hedeby, where he hopes to join the crew of a Viking longship and go i-viking. <BR/><BR/>The fierce, epic STRONGBOW SAGA continues with this exciting sequel, following the adventures of a young man learning the ways of the Viking warriors. <BR/><BR/>Halfdan is ready for action, armed with an amazing longbow that he made himself, and an axe that he took from a man that he killed. Halfdan's skill as an archer gains him acceptance into the crew of the Viking ship, The Gull, as it embarks on a quest to conquer the Franks. The large armada of Viking ships sail to make war on the Franks, the followers of the white Christ, and their sworn enemies. The electrifying battles and dialogue that fits the era feel realistic -- it's a can't-put-down chronicle with fast action and a multi-level plot. <BR/><BR/>Judson Roberts' extensive research is evident in this thrilling Viking yarn with compelling characters. Halfdan's honor and loyalty make him likable and sympathetic even when his violence is intense, frightening, and explicit, as it sometimes is in the fierce battles depicted in this provocative story. <BR/><BR/>The back of the book has a complete list of the characters, along with the part they play in the story, and a glossary of Viking terms, which I found very helpful. I greatly enjoyed this novel and I'm looking forward to the next volume in this electrifying saga. I'm definitely hooked on this series, and impatient for more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    A reviewer

    I thought this book was awesome...it was really historical and i love that time period but i haven't read much like this...it keeps you wanting more... i can't wait for the next book!!! YAY June 17th!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    austin the book reader

    Judson roberts is by far the best author i know of!Book one really explained every thing to and it was also Quite exciting. you never know whats going to happen next. once i started i couldn't stop reading. chapter after chapter, its like i was in some sort of trance. I am eager for his third book to come out:road to vengance. Hurray june 17th!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Awsome book. It grabs you and wont lett go till you finish. I would recomend this book to every one!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    The year is 845 A.D. and fifteen-year-old Halfdan Hroriksson vows to find and kill the man who murdered his brother, Harald. He travels to the fortress, Hedeby, where he hopes to join the crew of a Viking longship and go i-viking. The fierce, epic STRONGBOW SAGA continues with this exciting sequel, following the adventures of a young man learning the ways of the Viking warriors. Halfdan is ready for action, armed with an amazing longbow that he made himself, and an axe that he took from a man that he killed. Halfdan's skill as an archer gains him acceptance into the crew of the Viking ship, The Gull, as it embarks on a quest to conquer the Franks. The large armada of Viking ships sail to make war on the Franks, the followers of the white Christ, and their sworn enemies. The electrifying battles and dialogue that fits the era feel realistic -- it's a can't-put-down chronicle with fast action and a multi-level plot. Judson Roberts' extensive research is evident in this thrilling Viking yarn with compelling characters. Halfdan's honor and loyalty make him likable and sympathetic even when his violence is intense, frightening, and explicit, as it sometimes is in the fierce battles depicted in this provocative story. The back of the book has a complete list of the characters, along with the part they play in the story, and a glossary of Viking terms, which I found very helpful. I greatly enjoyed this novel and I'm looking forward to the next volume in this electrifying saga. I'm definitely hooked on this series, and impatient for more. **Reviewed by: Grandma Bev

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted July 18, 2013

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    Posted February 11, 2014

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    Posted February 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2011

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