100 books like The Viking Hondbók

By Kjersti Egerdahl,

Here are 100 books that The Viking Hondbók fans have personally recommended if you like The Viking Hondbók. 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 Last Rituals

Elizabeth Bear Author Of All the Windwracked Stars

From my list on understanding the Viking mindset and relationship with the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the granddaughter of a Finno-Swedish immigrant and I grew up on his stories and insights. Because he came from the melting-pot generations of immigrants, he kept very little of the traditions of his origins, but his culture and sense of his ancestral home informed my interests. For as long as I can recall, I've been trying to fill in the gaps in that cultural experience, which led me to researching and writing about Viking and Nordic history and culture, and visiting the Nordic countries whenever I've been able to manage it.

Elizabeth's book list on understanding the Viking mindset and relationship with the world

Elizabeth Bear Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This is a modern Icelandic Noir crime novel about a divorced personal attorney in Reykjavik who gets sucked into a horrific mystery at a university. It delves into Icelandic myth and Medieval black magic (the infamous Necropants make an appearance). I think it's very revealing about the frontier mentality that in some ways still persists in Iceland, and which saturates the Sagas. It's got a great sense of place and offers a nice cross-section of life in a modern Nordic country.

Also, it's really entertaining, and a little bit grotesque.

By Yrsa Sigurdardóttir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first Thora Gudmundsdottir novel from Yrsa Sigurdardottir - 'Queen of Icelandic crime'.

'Yrsa is one of the most exciting new voices in the crime thriller world.' - Peter James

A young man is found brutally murdered, his eyes gouged out. A student of Icelandic history in Reykjavik, he came from a wealthy German family who do not share the police's belief that his drug dealer murdered him. Attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir is commissioned by his mother to find out the truth, with the help - and hindrance - of boorish ex-policeman Matthew Reich. Their investigations into his research take them…


Book cover of Jar City

P.M. LaRose Author Of Beers on Ice

From my list on Scandinavian writers to get acquainted with.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been exploring Scandinavian authors for several years after working my way through the American masters of the genre (Chandler, McDonald, Parker, Burke, Stout, and others). For some reason, Scandinavians seem a lot more vicious in their writing, crafting murder scenes that are beyond gruesome. After reading the works of several Icelandic authors, I was inspired to go there and see firsthand what I was reading about, then to create my own mystery in that setting.

P.M.'s book list on Scandinavian writers to get acquainted with

P.M. LaRose Why did P.M. love this book?

Reykjavik Police Inspector Erlendur and his associate, Sigurdur Oli, are sent to investigate the murder of an old man bashed with an ashtray. They soon uncover his sordid past, in which he was accused of rape. Traipsing from clue to clue, interviewing tangential witnesses, they learn more about why he was killed and eventually discover the perpetrator, whose life was tragically altered by the actions of the murdered man. Erlendur and Oli are like the Odd Couple but complement each other in their work. The title refers to the practice of keeping organs in jars for medical research, which figures into the investigation. The journey to the solution of the case is very satisfying. 

By Arnaldur Indridason,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jar City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An old man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat.

A cryptic note and a photograph of a young girl's grave are left behind.

DID THE DEAD MAN'S PAST COME BACK TO HAUNT HIM?

Inspector Erlendur discovers that several decades ago the victim was accused, but not convicted, of an unsolved crime. As he follows a fascinating trail of strange forensic evidence, Inspector Erlendur uncovers secrets that are much larger than the murder of one man - dark secrets that have been carefully guarded for many, many years...
'A fascinating window on an unfamiliar world as well as an original…


Book cover of Kin

Elizabeth Bear Author Of All the Windwracked Stars

From my list on understanding the Viking mindset and relationship with the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the granddaughter of a Finno-Swedish immigrant and I grew up on his stories and insights. Because he came from the melting-pot generations of immigrants, he kept very little of the traditions of his origins, but his culture and sense of his ancestral home informed my interests. For as long as I can recall, I've been trying to fill in the gaps in that cultural experience, which led me to researching and writing about Viking and Nordic history and culture, and visiting the Nordic countries whenever I've been able to manage it.

Elizabeth's book list on understanding the Viking mindset and relationship with the world

Elizabeth Bear Why did Elizabeth love this book?

It's probably not by accident that three of the five books on this list are by Icelandic authors, as so much of the history and mythology of that nation is tied up with its Viking heritage. This novel, while somewhat unevenly paced, is a vivid depiction of life in Medieval Iceland, where kinship and honor were the basis by which human society clung to an unforgiving landscape. Its thematic emphasis falls on entrapment and isolation, and it offers a gorgeous sense of a premodern Nordic landscape.

By Snorri Kristjansson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'For Vikings done right, come to Snorri Kristjansson' - Mark Lawrence

'Truly entertaining' - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

'A dark mystery in a dark age brought vividly to life' - Robert Fabbri

Everyone loves a family reunion.

970: For the first time since Helga was adopted, her family will be gathered in one place. But her siblings are coming with darkness in their hearts.

Everyone knows their father, the Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson, has a great chest of gold hidden somewhere on his land - and each of his heirs is determined to find it.

Then one morning Helga is awakened by…


Book cover of D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

George Hagen Author Of Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle

From my list on Viking gods & heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

George Hagen is a Brooklyn writer who has written two adventure books for children about talking ravens. Hagen lived on three different continents by the time he was eleven, and developed a tremendous passion for folktales of all cultures from Africa, Egypt, Greece, Europe, and Celtic and Norse myth. His children's books were inspired by the myth of the Viking God Odin whose two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, flew around the land of ice and fire, reporting all the news. Hagen has appeared before hundreds of students, unraveling the secret mystery of riddles (modern and ancient) at schools from New York to Los Angeles.

George's book list on Viking gods & heroes

George Hagen Why did George love this book?

The D'Aulaire's book is a visual feast of stories from the land of ice, fire and Viking culture. The tales are well-told and exciting. It comes with lively illustrations which offer children who haven't encountered Thor, Odin, Freya or Loki before, a panorama of this marvelous world and the many adventures of the Norse Gods.

By Ingri D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin D'Aulaire,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Caldecott medal-winning d'Aulaires once again captivate their young audience with this beautifully illustrated introduction to Norse legends, telling stories of Odin the All-father, Thor the Thunder-god and the theft of his hammer, Loki the mischievous god of the Jotun Race, and Ragnarokk, the destiny of the gods. Children meet Bragi, the god of poetry, and the famous Valkyrie maidens, among other gods, goddesses, heroes, and giants. Illustrations throughout depict the wondrous other world of Norse folklore and its fantastical Northern landscape.


Book cover of The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion

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 another one of my favourites for learning about the Norse gods and the Norse religion. I found the information about the different gods, where their names came from, and how they were worshipped invaluable, as well as the detailed information about the different worlds the Vikings believed in and those who lived on those worlds.

This book was great for learning about how the Scandinavian people viewed their religion and how it affected their lives and their views on magic and the cosmos. I found it useful to learn about their afterlife and how the Vikings viewed it. It’s another book I regularly revisit when writing my novels.

Book cover of The Last Time As We Are

Seth Brown Author Of The Disapproval of My Toaster

From my list on human poetry for an increasingly inhuman world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing poetry since second grade, although oddly it took me until after college (where I was Class Poet) to start writing poetry that *gasp* didn't rhyme. (Did I mention I grew up on Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein?) I started attending local poetry slams and then poetry festivals like WordXWord, and listening and performing there showed me what poetry could be. Poems can crystalize in a few lines a universal truth you've felt for years but been unable to express. I think that's amazing. (I also think it's better with a dash of humor mixed in, because I'm a humor columnist and I'm biased.)

Seth's book list on human poetry for an increasingly inhuman world

Seth Brown Why did Seth love this book?

There's a good chance you're familiar with his poem “What Teachers Make”, from his other book. But this is the book that has his most poignant and human poems, including “Tony Steinberg: Brave Seventh Grade Viking Warrior”, which has long been one of my partner's favorite poems, and accomplishes in a few minutes of words what many Hollywood movies try and fail to accomplish with a full cast, two hours, and hundreds of millions of dollars: It alternately makes you laugh and cry. Which I say as someone who has seen it performed many times, and it still makes me laugh every time, and still makes me cry every time.

By Taylor Mali,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Time As We Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You don't need a classroom to be a teacher, and you don't need to be a teacher to help someone learn a lesson. Taylor Mali's poetry explores this truth in entertaining and plainspoken ways because "the last thing this world needs is another poem" ("The Call to What We Know"). Whether discussing the language of love or the love of language, the poems contained in The Last Time As We Are prove that "He who dares to teach must never cease to learn." Not since Taylor Mali has there been a poet the likes of Taylor Mali-he is a man…


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 Beloved Viking

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

From my list on medieval romance with feisty female vikings and maids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former high school teacher and college professor of French who discovered a passion for medieval history while earning my MA in French Literature. When I spent a summer studying in Normandy, I was fascinated by the Viking influences and vestiges in that region of France. I researched tales of Valkyrie and Nordic shield maiden warriors who fought alongside their fearsome men, finding inspiration for my own medieval novel. Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle features a fire-hearted French princess descended from Viking Valkyrie who wields a sword to defend her Breton kingdom and forge her own destiny.

Jennifer's book list on medieval romance with feisty female vikings and maids

Jennifer Ivy Walker Why did Jennifer love this book?

Rúna Isaksson is feisty, fiery Viking who, as the heir to her father’s jarldom, will soon replace him as the leader of their clan.

Since she must marry a warrior from another clan to form a powerful alliance, her father creates a contest to determine the strongest suitor. Determined to choose her own husband, Rúna demands to compete as well—and finds herself battling the man she once loved whose heart is as hardened as his warrior body.

I loved how Rúna was a fierce Viking, a shield maiden supremely skilled with a blade. And I adored the passionate romance between Jordan, the warrior who loved and respected Rúna as his equal.

By Ree Thornton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The shield-maiden must marry...

Heir to her father's Jarldom, Rúna Isaksson will soon ascend to replace him as leader, but first she must marry a warrior from another clan to form a powerful alliance. When her father creates a contest to determine the strongest suitor, Rúna demands to compete as well--if she wins, she can choose her own husband. However, she's shocked to discover that her first love is amongst the competitors, the man who abandoned her without looking back. She must not let him win.

A Viking warrior haunted by a dark past...

Jorvan Eriksson has returned from seeking…


Book cover of The Wolf Age: The Vikings, the Anglo-Saxons and the Battle for the North Sea Empire

Andrew Varga Author Of The Last Saxon King: A Jump in Time Novel

From my list on detailed, fun, and easy to read Anglo-Saxon history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a lifelong student of history. Even as a child I would devour history books or watch documentaries on TV telling tales of past wars of heroic battles. This passion eventually turned into a degree in History from the University of Toronto. I have also visited countless museums, castles, ruins, and historic sites throughout Europe and North America. My particular interest in Anglo-Saxon history came during my university years when I took some Old English language courses. Poems like the Battle of Maldon and Beowulf were my gateway to the rich tapestry of lives and events that made up the Anglo-Saxon era.

Andrew's book list on detailed, fun, and easy to read Anglo-Saxon history

Andrew Varga Why did Andrew love this book?

I've read Anglo-Saxon history. I've read Viking Age history. But this is the first book I've read that combined them together to make a clear picture of the forces that drove these two people against each other.

This book covers the alliances, battles, and the people who were constantly shifting from one person's orbit to another. Although its main focus was England, the book also provides a view of the conflicts going on in Norway and Denmark, to give a holistic view of Northern Europe and what happened when huge armies of Danes and Norwegians came to England, leaving a power vacuum behind them in the north.

By Tore Skeie, Alison McCullough (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the eleventh century, the rulers of the lands surrounding the North Sea are all hungry for power. To get power they need soldiers, to get soldiers they need silver, and to get silver there is no better way than war and plunder. This vicious cycle draws all the lands of the north into a brutal struggle for supremacy and survival that will shatter kingdoms and forge an empire.

The Wolf Age takes the reader on a thrilling journey through the bloody shared history of England and Scandinavia, and on across early medieval Europe, from the wild Norwegian fjords to…


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