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The Long Ships

The Long Ships

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Written by Frans G. BengtssonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Frans G. Bengtsson
Translated by Michael MeyerAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Michael Meyer
Introduction by Michael ChabonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Michael Chabon

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 528 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics
  • On Sale: July 6, 2010
  • Price: $17.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-59017-346-6 (1-59017-346-5)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

Frans Gunnar Bengtsson’s The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the tenth century AD when the Vikings roamed and rampaged from the northern fastnesses of Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean. Bengtsson’s hero, Red Orm–canny, courageous, and above all lucky–is only a boy when he is abducted from his Danish home by the Vikings and made to take this place at the oars of their dragon-prowed ships. Orm is then captured by the Moors in Spain, where he is initiated into the pleasures of the senses and fights for the Caliph of Cordova. Escaping from captivity, Orm washes up in Ireland, where he marvels at those epicene creatures, the Christian monks, and from which he then moves on to play an ever more important part in the intrigues of the various Scandinavian kings and clans and dependencies. Eventually, Orm contributes to the Viking defeat of the army of the king of England and returns home an off-the-cuff Christian and a very rich man, though back on his native turf new trials and tribulations will test his cunning and determination. Packed with pitched battles and blood feuds and told throughout with wit and high spirits, Bengtsson’s book is a splendid adventure that features one of the most unexpectedly winning heroes in modern fiction.

The Long Ships has many virtues of the true story-teller’s art...Under the merriment and the fighting there is a great deal of scholarship as sound as it is imperceptible. Reading this marvelously good-humored ale-broth of a book, you say: this is how it must have been to be a Viking chief a thousand years ago. And not such a bad life at that." —Burke Wilkinson, The New York Times