100 books like The Age of the Vikings

By Anders Winroth,

Here are 100 books that The Age of the Vikings fans have personally recommended if you like The Age of the Vikings. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

J.G. Harlond Author Of The Doomsong Sword

From my list on factual fantasy for coming-of-age Viking stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a Viking battlefield, in an English coastal village once raided then occupied by Norsemen. We had ancestors who lived on the Isle of Orkney, and in the Celtic south-west. From a young age, I read Norse and Celtic myths and legends, and went on to study history and philosophy – and then became an author. Now, I have family in Sweden and grandchildren of Ash and Elm. My list offers pure escapism, but also shows how our ancestors lived in an age with no electricity or compulsory schooling. It’s the wonderful combination of the ‘other world’ myths and history that I believe makes us who we are. 

J.G.'s book list on factual fantasy for coming-of-age Viking stories

J.G. Harlond Why did J.G. love this book?

This very readable non-fiction is an account of how the people we call the Vikings lived and why they went a’viking.

Historian Neil Price describes in an easy-to-comprehend manner the Scandinavian world of long ago – when gods, spirits, and humans co-existed in a brutal axe-age. The author explains strange superstitions and how the belief in supernatural beings affected daily life.

Readers also learn about the terrible climate catastrophe that made northern lands virtually uninhabitable, and where Viking explorers sailed to in search of fertile land and treasure. My own family background gives me a strong connection to this history and its special mythology. 

By Neil Price,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Children of Ash and Elm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020

'As brilliant a history of the Vikings as one could possibly hope to read' Tom Holland

The 'Viking Age' is traditionally held to begin in June 793 when Scandinavian raiders attacked the monastery of Lindisfarne in Northumbria, and to end in September 1066, when King Harald Hardrada of Norway died leading the charge against the English line at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. This book, the most wide-ranging and comprehensive assessment of the current state of our knowledge, takes a refreshingly different view. It shows that the Viking expansion began generations before the…


Book cover of Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World

Nancy Marie Brown Author Of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

From my list on Vikings, their humor, and their world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Marie Brown is the author of seven books about Iceland and the Viking Age, including The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman, and the award-winning Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths. Her books combine extremes: medieval literature and modern archaeology, myths and facts. They ask, What have we overlooked? What have we forgotten? Whose story must not be lost? A former science writer and editor at a university magazine, she lives on a farm in northern Vermont and spends part of each summer in Iceland.

Nancy's book list on Vikings, their humor, and their world

Nancy Marie Brown Why did Nancy love this book?

In the “traders vs. raiders” approach to Viking history, women stay home and look after the farm while the men go off on adventures. Three books published in the 1990s by Judith Jesch and Jenny Jochens brought the lives of these women out of the shadows, showing how vital their role was.

In Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World, Jóhanna Kristín Friðriksdóttir brings these early studies up to date. With her mastery of detail from the Icelandic sagas, Friðriksdóttir follows an ordinary Viking woman from birth to death. She tells stories of women who are bold and successful, others who are battered and victimized.

She hopes to introduce us, she says, “to the diverse and fascinating texts recorded in medieval Iceland, a culture able to imagine women in all kinds of roles carrying power.” Like the mythical valkyries of her title, these are “women who decided.” To learn…

By Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Valkyrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 CUNDILL HISTORY PRIZE Valkyries: the female supernatural beings that choose who dies and who lives on the battlefield. They protect some, but guide spears, arrows and sword blades into the bodies of others. Viking myths about valkyries attempt to elevate the banality of war - to make the pain and suffering, the lost limbs and deformities, the piles of lifeless bodies of young men, glorious and worthwhile. Rather than their death being futile, it is their destiny and good fortune, determined by divine beings. The women in these stories take full part in the power struggles…


Book cover of Viking Age Iceland

Nancy Marie Brown Author Of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

From my list on Vikings, their humor, and their world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Marie Brown is the author of seven books about Iceland and the Viking Age, including The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman, and the award-winning Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths. Her books combine extremes: medieval literature and modern archaeology, myths and facts. They ask, What have we overlooked? What have we forgotten? Whose story must not be lost? A former science writer and editor at a university magazine, she lives on a farm in northern Vermont and spends part of each summer in Iceland.

Nancy's book list on Vikings, their humor, and their world

Nancy Marie Brown Why did Nancy love this book?

Almost everything we know about the Vikings—their gods and heroes, their history and myths, their values and fears—comes from texts written down on parchment in medieval Iceland. Yet the Icelandic sagas and Eddas are biased. They explain very little about the Vikings in the east (and get wrong much of what they do describe). Their world is not the Viking World, which stretched from Constantinople to North America, but Viking Iceland.

Jesse Byock brings all this material together in Viking Age Iceland. First published in 2001, this immensely readable book is a classic that has not yet been bettered. It should be on every Viking enthusiast’s shelf.

By Jesse L. Byock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Viking Age Iceland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Medieval Iceland was unique amongst Western Europe, with no foreign policy, no defence forces, no king, no lords, no peasants and few battles. It should have been a utopia yet its literature is dominated by brutality and killing. The reasons for this, argues Jesse Byock, lie in the underlying structures and cultural codes of the islands' social order. 'Viking Age Iceland' is an engaging, multi-disciplinary work bringing together findings in anthropology and ethnography interwoven with historical fact and masterful insights into the popular Icelandic sagas, this is a brilliant reconstruction of the inner workings of a unique and intriguing society.


Book cover of The Prose Edda

Donovan Cook Author Of Odin's Betrayal

From my list on learn about the Vikings and their gods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved history, especially European history, and fell in love with the Vikings and their mythology after reading the first book of the Last Kingdom Series by Bernard Cornwell. One of the reasons I wanted to write Viking fiction is because I was keen to learn more about these amazing people who had such a large influence on European history, but had been stigmatized by the Christian religion. I really wanted to learn about who they were as a people and how they saw their world through their religion and their interactions with Christian nations around them.

Donovan's book list on learn about the Vikings and their gods

Donovan Cook Why did Donovan love this book?

This is the book to read if you want to learn about Norse mythology and the Norse gods, and is certainly one I enjoyed.

I loved reading all the different sagas, from the creation of the universe all the way to Ragnarök. This is a book I regularly revisit to find tales that I can sprinkle into my novels, and I also found it a great source just to understand the mentality of the Scandinavian people.

By Snorri Sturluson, Jesse L. Byock (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Prose Edda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source of Norse mythology

Written in Iceland a century after the close of the Viking Age, The Prose Edda tells ancient stories of the Norse creation epic and recounts the battles that follow as gods, giants, dwarves and elves struggle for survival. In prose interspersed with powerful verse, the Edda shows the gods' tragic realization that the future holds one final cataclysmic battle, Ragnarok, when the world will be destroyed. These tales have proved to be among the most influential of all myths and legends, inspiring works…


Book cover of Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings

Nancy Marie Brown Author Of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

From my list on Vikings, their humor, and their world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Marie Brown is the author of seven books about Iceland and the Viking Age, including The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman, and the award-winning Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths. Her books combine extremes: medieval literature and modern archaeology, myths and facts. They ask, What have we overlooked? What have we forgotten? Whose story must not be lost? A former science writer and editor at a university magazine, she lives on a farm in northern Vermont and spends part of each summer in Iceland.

Nancy's book list on Vikings, their humor, and their world

Nancy Marie Brown Why did Nancy love this book?

Why do the Vikings seem so modern? Tom Shippey thinks it’s their attitude toward losers. They “knew that in the real world, conditions aren’t fair.” Heroes are trapped, outnumbered. Their luck runs out. “That doesn’t make you what we call ‘a loser,’” he writes. “The only thing that would make you a loser would be giving up.”

The Vikings showed their spirit by refusing to take death seriously. “What was best was showing you could turn the tables, spoil your enemy’s victory, make a joke out of death,” Shippey writes, and in Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings he shares dozens of examples.

Viking death-jokes are “often marked by Bad Sense of Humour,” Shippey admits. But they explain a lot about why this culture continues to fascinate us.

By Tom Shippey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Laughing Shall I Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this robust new account of the Vikings, Tom Shippey explores their mindset, and in particular their fascination with scenes of heroic death. The book recounts many of the great bravura scenes of Old Norse literature, including the Fall of the House of the Skjoldungs, the clash between the two great longships Ironbeard and Long Serpent and the death of Thormod the skald. The most exciting book on Vikings for a generation, Laughing Shall I Die presents them for what they were: not peaceful explorers and traders, but bloodthirsty warriors and marauders.


Book cover of Aelfred's Britain: War and Peace in the Viking Age

MJ Porter Author Of Son of Mercia

From my list on that led to my obsession with Saxon England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of novels set in Saxon England. I studied the era at both undergraduate and graduate levels and never meant to become a historical fiction writer. But I developed a passion to tell the story of the last century of Early England through the eyes of the earls of Mercia, as opposed to the more well-known, Earl Godwin. I’m still writing that series but venture further back in time as well. I might have a bit of an obsession with the Saxon kingdom of Mercia. I’m fascinated by the whole near-enough six hundred years of Saxon England before the watershed moment of 1066, after which, quite frankly, everything went a bit downhill. 

MJ's book list on that led to my obsession with Saxon England

MJ Porter Why did MJ love this book?

This is a book about much more than just the most famous of the Saxon kings, Alfred the Great. The narrative begins in 789 and runs to 955, and charts not only the ‘beginning’ of England, as we know it, but also the ‘end’ of the smaller kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia. One of the more recent of my book recommendations, Max Adams simply thinks about Saxon England the way that I do, and he’s able to weave a narrative that’s conscious of both the narrative sources for the period and recent archaeological advances. I often pick up his books (he’s written two others about earlier Saxon England) to make use of his timelines and maps. He has a lightness of touch and flair that makes even the murkiest of topics, engaging and more importantly, comprehensible.

By Max Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Aelfred's Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Aelfred the Great, his war against the Vikings and the foundations of modern Britain.

In AD 865, a 'great host' of battle-hardened Norse warriors landed on England's eastern coast, overwhelmed East Anglia with terrifying swiftness and laid the North to waste. Ghosting along estuaries and inshore waters, in 871 they penetrated deep into the southern kingdom of Wessex, ruled over by a new and untested king, AElfred son of AEdelwulf. It seemed as though the End of Days was come.

Max Adams tells the story of the heroic efforts of AElfred, his successors and fellow-kings of Britain,…


Book cover of The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

Ian Stuart Sharpe Author Of Old Norse for Modern Times

From my list on researching Vikings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ian Stuart Sharpe likes to imagine he is descended from Guðrum, King of the East Angles, although DNA tests and a deep disdain for camping suggest otherwise. He is the author of two novels set in his alternate Vikingverse, the All Father Paradox and Loki’s Wager. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. It took him thirty years, but he has finally realised his dream.

Ian's book list on researching Vikings

Ian Stuart Sharpe Why did Ian love this book?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what value is an illustrated, annotated map complete with key dates and a timeline?! Most books carry a few maps that help orientate you to the text, but this atlas is a treasure trove. It provides a visual context that is hugely helpful in understanding how the world of the Vikings evolved.

By John Haywood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Viking marauders in their longships burst through the defences of ninth-century Europe, striking terror into the hearts of peasants and rulers alike for two centuries. But the Vikings were more than just marine warriors and this atlas shows their development as traders and craftsmen, explorers, settlers and mercenaries. With over sixty full colour maps, it follows the tracks of the Viking merchants who travelled deep into Russia, of Viking mercenaries who served in the emperor's bodyguard at Constantinople, and Viking mariners who sailed beyond the edge of the known world to North America.


Book cover of The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings

Ian Stuart Sharpe Author Of Old Norse for Modern Times

From my list on researching Vikings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ian Stuart Sharpe likes to imagine he is descended from Guðrum, King of the East Angles, although DNA tests and a deep disdain for camping suggest otherwise. He is the author of two novels set in his alternate Vikingverse, the All Father Paradox and Loki’s Wager. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. It took him thirty years, but he has finally realised his dream.

Ian's book list on researching Vikings

Ian Stuart Sharpe Why did Ian love this book?

Lars Brownworth’s The Sea Wolves is a great place to begin your Viking voyage. Like any good Norse raid it is breathtaking and action-packed. It has a wide scope, colouring in all the corners of the Viking world, from the Vinland to Byzantium. It is easy to digest, and as swaggering as it is educational.

By Lars Brownwort,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sea Wolves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In AD 793 Norse warriors struck the English isle of Lindisfarne and laid waste to it. Wave after wave of Norse ‘sea-wolves’ followed in search of plunder, land, or a glorious death in battle. Much of the British Isles fell before their swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, they swept down the uncharted rivers of central Europe, captured Kiev and clashed with mighty Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

But there is more to the Viking story than brute force. They were makers of law - the term itself comes…


Book cover of Vikings at War

Donovan Cook Author Of Odin's Betrayal

From my list on learn about the Vikings and their gods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved history, especially European history, and fell in love with the Vikings and their mythology after reading the first book of the Last Kingdom Series by Bernard Cornwell. One of the reasons I wanted to write Viking fiction is because I was keen to learn more about these amazing people who had such a large influence on European history, but had been stigmatized by the Christian religion. I really wanted to learn about who they were as a people and how they saw their world through their religion and their interactions with Christian nations around them.

Donovan's book list on learn about the Vikings and their gods

Donovan Cook Why did Donovan love this book?

This was my go-to book while I was writing my latest series and probably one of my favourite books for learning about the Vikings.

Vikings at War is exactly what the title says it is, and I found that it was a great source for learning about the strategies Vikings used in battle, from the general shield wall organization to the different formations they used. It also talks about the different weapons, armour, and training methods used by the Vikings which had made them a formidable fighting force during the Viking Age.

But what I love about this book even more is that it also explains the history and the complex relationships between the Vikings and the nations they were raiding.

By Kim Hjardar, Vegard Vike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vikings at War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vikings at War is a sumptuous depiction of how the Vikings waged war: their weapons technology, offensive and defensive warfare, military traditions and tactics, their fortifications, ships and command structure. It also portrays the Viking raids and conquest campaigns that brought the Vikings to virtually every corner of Europe and even to America. Between the 9th and 11the century, Viking ships landed on almost every shore in the Western world. Viking ravages united the Spanish kingdoms and stopped Charlemagne and the Franks' advance in Europe. Wherever Viking ships roamed, enormous suffering followed in their wake, but the encounter between cultures…


Book cover of The Viking Anthology: Norse Myths, Icelandic Sagas and Viking Chronicles

Donovan Cook Author Of Odin's Betrayal

From my list on learn about the Vikings and their gods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved history, especially European history, and fell in love with the Vikings and their mythology after reading the first book of the Last Kingdom Series by Bernard Cornwell. One of the reasons I wanted to write Viking fiction is because I was keen to learn more about these amazing people who had such a large influence on European history, but had been stigmatized by the Christian religion. I really wanted to learn about who they were as a people and how they saw their world through their religion and their interactions with Christian nations around them.

Donovan's book list on learn about the Vikings and their gods

Donovan Cook Why did Donovan love this book?

I’ll admit, this book is a monster of a read, but I found it worth every minute I spent reading it. The Viking Anthology gives you everything you will ever need to learn about Norse mythology and the Scandinavian people.

I loved reading about the different gods, even some of the more obscure ones, their origins, and why they were worshipped. Even more valuable for me is the Icelandic sagas, which can also be found in this book. From these I learned so much about the daily lives of the Icelandic people and found many interesting ideas that I used in my novels.

By Snorri Sturleson, Saemund Sigfusson, Saxo Grammaticus , Wiliam Morris

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Viking Anthology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Comprehensive Collection of Viking and Norse Literature This vast ebook Anthology is exploding with masterpieces of world literature, ranging from the peerless Icelandic Sagas, to the Norwegian 'Heimskringla', or the 'Chronicle of the Kings of Norway'.

As well as these original texts (in English Translation), are several accompanying great works of scholarship which are an essential companion to the texts - assisting the reader in their understanding of Viking, Norse and Icelandic culture and beliefs - from their complex creation myths, to their huge array of Pagan Gods to rival the pantheons of Ancient Greece or Rome.

Anyone with…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Vikings, the Middle Ages, and Norse mythology?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Vikings, the Middle Ages, and Norse mythology.

Vikings Explore 114 books about Vikings
The Middle Ages Explore 415 books about the Middle Ages
Norse Mythology Explore 62 books about Norse mythology