Book review: The Last Viking
review by Becky
With the death of Edward the Confessor, the crown of England is hanging in the balance. And in the north Harald Hadrada, the Norwegian Viking leader, is determined to take his chance of capturing the country. But Harold will not let that happen without a fight. Charismatic and the leader of a mighty army, he is determined to make Hadrada the last Viking in England. And so the bloodiest battle yet fought on English soil is about to begin. At stake is sovereignty, freedom and honour.
Available on Amazon.com The Last Viking
This book was a pleasure to read in that it didn't focus soley on the character of Harold Godwinson whom is often the prime focus when dealing with the period of 1066. The great aspect of this book was that it showed the reader the build up and effects and impacts of decisions and actions made during this climactic year from views of common folk from both sides of the battle. We get to know Welsh Archers and Fyrdmen in the armies, loyal Housecarls to the King, a Viking warband that joins Hardrada, the Reeve of Scarborough that was attacked by Hardrada, the church clerics who used their contact network to gather intel for the King and we even get close to Hardrada's daughter and wife. All play a part in a well written story that weaves their views and experiences together until the fateful end of Stamford Bridge. We do of course get insight into Harold's leadership and mastery of the developing threats from Normandy and Norway but he doesn't dominate which I personally prefer.
My only criticism of this book is that some of the dialogue used, especially within the Viking Warband, is very uncomfortable and uses words that probably didn't even exist within Norse language. For example referring to another as "old boy" and "tickles your fancies". It did genuinely taint the experience a bit.
On the whole it was an enjoyable read which is itself an achievement especially when so many of us know how the story ends. It is good storytelling to show it in a new way through the eyes of new characters.
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.
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