Book review - Harald Hardrada The Last Viking by Michael Burr
Review by Becky
In the dead of night, a band of Vikings ravage a lonely convent on the Brittany coast -and their fearsome leader makes a decision that will eventually lead to his downfall. Ranulf de Lannion is fifteen years old. Crippled, deformed and abandoned by his family to the charity of the convent, he is seized by the Vikings during a midnight raid. Contemptuously nicknamed 'The Scraeling" by his captors, his future appears grim. Harald Sigurdsson, or 'Hardrada' as he will come to be known, is the leader of the Viking band. A violent mercenary with designs on the throne of Norway, Hardrada abducts The Scraeling on a whim. Ranulf grows into an invaluable asset, smoothing Hardrada's path over their thirty-five years together from mercenary to commander of the Varangian Guard, all the way to king of Norway. But all is not as it seems in the heart of Ranulf de Lannion. Having sworn secret revenge upon Hardrada for the murders at the convent, he vows to end the day of the Viking forever. When the king of Norway launches an attack against the Anglo-Saxon throne of England in 1066, what role will The Scraeling play in bringing the age of the Viking to an end?
Available on Amazon.com: Harald Hardrada: The Last Viking
I have often wondered why out of all the viking historical fiction books I've read (Stand alone and series) why the reader only ever has a brief encounter with the charismatic and heroic figure of Harald Hardrada, the Thunderbolt of the North, Emperesse's elite Vanguard and King of Norway. Which is why I'm ecstatic at discovering this fantastic gripping tale by Michael Burr. Not only is the story telling brilliant, the depth of the characters fantastic and the plot twists and turns thrilling BUT from the point of view of a french captive unwillingly adopted into Hardrada's crew during a raid on a monastary you get to follow this awesome figure of the viking sagas from his humble origins as a wayward exile who even at a young age shows all the brilliant qualities of a fine norse leader as well as his outstanding prowess for battle strategy. Despite his flaws and his brutal and bloody acts throughout history and the world you come to care and admire him and his crew, despite the sinister plots of the french captive that will take many years to come to fruition, upon a small battlefield, by a small river, in a land where Hardrada's ancestors once ruled....Stamford Bridge.
This novel is a really fantastic saga in its own right, there is such grand historical details and great battles to witness and survive through and exotic far away lands to explore. It is perfect for fans of vikings anywhere in the world for Hardrada is often remembered for his alliterative name but this will make sure his many acts both good and bad will echo in the readers minds for days after. It certainly offers a fresh and alternative view upon this period of history.
Want to Read more about Harald Hardrada? This book by John Marsden is amilitary study and history of Him. Harald Hardrada the Warrior's Way
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
Related Fantasy Guides:
- Return to the Viking Main Page
- Norse Fantasy books. Check out the guide here
- and Viking Historical novels, recommendations and reviews here