As a history buff—one can never be expert enough—by looking to the past I hope to glimpse the future, but mostly to make sense of the present. Power, greed and sex have driven people since before history was written, but there have always been those willing to die for something more. What causes are worth such dedication? Who were these people who were willing to give all? I was never in the military (my contact lenses are thick as bottle caps) but I try never to write battle porn, only to tell their stories as accurately and entertainingly as I can.
King Harald III (called Hardrada, the “Hard Ruler”) of Norway was a real-life fantasy hero who burst into history as a teenaged youth in a Viking battle, from which he escaped with little more than his life and a thirst for vengeance. Journey with him across the medieval world, from the frozen barrens of the North to the glittering towers of Byzantium and the passions of the Holy Land. He’ll fight for and against Christian, Muslim, and pagan rulers. He’ll bed handmaids, a princess and an empress alike, writing poetry and amassing a fortune along the way, before returning home to claim his love, his crown, and his destiny, and ultimately die like a Viking: in battle, laughing, sword in hand.
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I know, I know, another series. Think of it as getting thousands of recommendations for your money instead of just five.
Squadron/Signal books are aimed primarily at modelers, and ancient warfare isn’t their thing, but when it comes to 20th Century military hardware they can’t be beat. Short, easy reads, almost all photos, and captions, rightly famous for their profiles of various types. Need to know when the F-4 jet fighter finally got a built-in 20mm cannon? F-4 Phantom II in Action, pages 34–35. What’s the difference between an M1E1 and M1A1 main battle tank? M1 Abrams in Action, page 23. What’s the difference between a prototype Fokker Triplane and the production model? Fokker Dr.1 in Action, pages 7–8.
We think you will like Blood Eye: A Novel (Raven: Book 1), The Viking Achievement, and Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas if you like this list.
From Daniel's list on The best military history fiction books set in the pre-1900s.
While written in a similar vein as The Last Kingdom, Kristian has a knack for making his writing come to life in a very Anglo-Saxon epic poem kind of way. In this novel, we follow an orphan of sorts, Raven, as he joins a rapacious band of Norsemen embarking on a violent quest. Kristian is a relative newcomer compared to the others on this list, but he does not disappoint and will take the reader on a grand adventure.
From Linnea's list on The best books for understanding the Vikings.
This is one of the first books of Viking history that approached the Vikings on their own terms rather than their effect on Christian Europe. It illuminates areas of their lives like Viking technology, laws, and social organizations, and then how Viking explorers, traders, and raiders exported those abroad. As I began researching my Viking novels, this was one of the books that brought me into the Viking world the most fully.
From Tom's list on The best books on Vikings through archaeology and research.
Dr Barraclough not only traces Viking voyages north, south, east and west, she has followed in their footsteps. She was knighted with the penis-bone of a walrus by the Polar Bear Society of Hammarfest, saw the runestones commemorating those who “died in the east with Ingvar,” and mapped saga accounts of Newfoundland. Grisly information about Icelandic “necropants” and the Greenland hero “Corpse-Lodin.” This book has particularly beautiful color plates.