The most recommended Norse mythology books

Who picked these books? Meet our 54 experts.

54 authors created a book list connected to Norse mythology, and here are their favorite Norse mythology books.
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Book cover of Nordic Runes: Understanding, Casting, and Interpreting the Ancient Viking Oracle

Kendall Grey Author Of Runed

From my list on the stories and epics of Norse mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fiction writer who prides herself on drowning her stories in a thick marinade of authenticity, I’m a research hound. In preparing to write my Asgard Awakening series, I leaned on my lifelong love of mythology to fuel countless hours of research about Norse cosmology, runes, myths, and gods. I now consider myself an expert on deconstructing Marvel movie plotlines, comparing their Asgardian characters to the Norse gods they’re based on, and womansplaining everything the studio did wrong to any sucker who will listen. ;-)

Kendall's book list on the stories and epics of Norse mythology

Kendall Grey Why did Kendall love this book?

This book veers off the path of mythological source material into the land of metaphysics. It contains explanations and interpretations of Norse runes and how they were (and still are, by modern pagans) used for divination. The first part focuses on lore surrounding the runic alphabet—often called “Elder Futhark” runes, which can be traced back to Viking times. Part two discusses rune staves, which are formed by combinations of the individual runes to create powerful symbols. The book ends with a section on rune casting. In my research about Nordic runes, I found this book quite helpful and enlightening.

By Paul Rhys Mountfort,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A comprehensive and practical guide to the ancient oracle based on the runic alphabet of the Norse

• Reveals the symbolism and divinatory significance of the 24 rune "staves"

• Provides clear instructions on how to craft your own rune stones

• Explains the role of runes in the Norse wisdom tradition and its influence on such works as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

Nordic runes are a potent and profoundly transformative magic system that gives contemporary readers access to the ancient wisdom tradition of Northern European cultures. The runes have deep resonances within the pagan Norse world of gods…


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 In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire

Jake Jackson Author Of Norse Myths

From my list on Norse mythology from a wide range of perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about mythology, history, art, music, and cosmology. I also write science fiction. Mythology for me is an expression of a people trying to explain the world around them within the limits of their own knowledge. We are the same. Our search to understand the origins of the universe are limited by our language and mathematics, as were the Scandinavians who discovered countries for the first time, always expanding their horizons and adapting their legends accordingly. The Vikings had a rare vitality that sprang from every mythic tale and I love to explore both the deep origins of their worldview, and their influence in the cultures of today.

Jake's book list on Norse mythology from a wide range of perspectives

Jake Jackson Why did Jake love this book?

Tom Holland’s excellent series of contextual historical books bring a rare quality, seeking beyond boundaries to understand the sweep of civilisation across continents. This book focuses on the period we call The Dark Ages in the West, from the Fall of Rome to the rise of the Anglo Saxons. But in Asia and the Middle East literature, science and religion flourished, just as the Vikings raided and traded through Europe across to Arabia where eventually they encountered the great cultures of the East.

By Tom Holland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Shadow of the Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER

'A stunning blockbuster' Robert Fisk

'A compelling detective story of the highest order' Sunday Times

In the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two great empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on, and one had vanished for ever, while the other was a dismembered, bleeding trunk. In their place, a new superpower had arisen: the empire of the Arabs. So profound was this upheaval that it spelled, in effect, the end of the ancient world.

But the changes that marked the period were more than merely political or…


Book cover of The First Girl Child

Lindsey Pogue Author Of Tide and Tempest: A Forgotten Lands Novel

From my list on historical fiction and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical fiction and survival adventures, but I’m a historian at heart. The past fascinates me and provides the best fodder to explore age-old questions about life, love, and the hero and heroine’s journey to greatness. History has sparked inspiration for some of the most beautiful fictional and reimagined stories I’ve ever read, and transports readers to places long forgotten and unknown—and all without cell phones and internet at the core. Perhaps that’s what I love—a crueler but more hard-earned, simpler life. I hope you enjoy these epic tales of love and adventure as much as I did, and lose yourself in the magic of story. 

Lindsey's book list on historical fiction and fantasy

Lindsey Pogue Why did Lindsey love this book?

This was my first adult historical fantasy (not Young Adult) and I loved it. It’s epic in all ways that matter, with amazing world building, endearing and complex characters, sweeping landscapes and battles, love stories, and it’s beautifully written. This is one of those novels you would binge if it was a show, episode by episode, and wish that you could.   

By Amy Harmon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation.

Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he's also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in…


Book cover of The Age of Odin

Amalia Dillin Author Of From Asgard, With Love

From my list on Norse gods set in the modern world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been immersed in Norse Myth for more than a decade and writing books about the Gods I’ve always wanted to read. My Fate of the Gods trilogy is a mythic mash-up of Biblical, Norse, Greek, and Egyptian myth, and writing as Amalia Carosella, my book Daughter of a Thousand Years is Viking age historical fiction about Freydis, the daughter of Erik the Red. Additionally, as a Norse Pagan polytheist myself, finding books that do justice to the Gods in our modern world is that much more important to me than your average reader - I’m always looking to celebrate the books that bring them to life!

Amalia's book list on Norse gods set in the modern world

Amalia Dillin Why did Amalia love this book?

The God: Skadi, Freya, Thor (and more!)

Another take on Ragnarok, but wholly different from Norse Code. Set in a post-apocalyptic mini Ice Age—the fimbulwinter that precedes Ragnarok—and following a soldier/mercenary who signs himself up with no real idea of what he’s in for, Age of Odin gives us an action-packed war-driven adventure with fun takes on familiar and less familiar gods along the way—even including Ratatosk, the squirrel who resides upon and spreads gossip all along the World Tree.

By James Lovegrove,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gideon Coxall was a good soldier but bad at everything else, until a roadside explosive device leaves him with one deaf ear and a British Army half-pension. So when he hears about the Valhalla Project, it's like a dream come true. They're recruiting former service personnel for excellent pay, no questions asked, to take part in unspecified combat operations.

The last thing Gid expects is to find himself fighting alongside ancient Viking gods. The world is in the grip of one of the worst winters it has ever known, and Ragnaroek - the fabled final conflict of the Sagas -…


Book cover of Thor: Tales Of Asgard

James Lovegrove Author Of The Age of Odin

From my list on Norse mythology via Marvel comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like Neil Gaiman, I came to Norse mythology via the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Marvel comics route. And when I explored the material further I was struck by the darkness and unsanitised oddity of many of the stories. They clearly reflected the Vikings’ view of the world as a cold, hostile, sometimes absurd place that must be met with a strong arm and a hearty laugh if one is to survive not only physically but mentally. There’s something refreshingly honest about such an approach, and when I came to write the third novel in my Pantheon series, The Age of Odin, which recast the myths as a modern military-SF thriller, I leaned heavily into the aspects I found the most appealing as well as the most dramatic, not least the snowy apocalypse that is Ragnarök, while injecting some appropriately ribald humour too.

James' book list on Norse mythology via Marvel comics

James Lovegrove Why did James love this book?

This series of short back-up strips in the 1960s Thor comic from Marvel retold and embellished on the myths in characteristically bombastic Lee/Kirby fashion. While Thor himself, in the main feature, battled costumed supervillains in contemporary New York, the supporting feature dealt with his youth, his allies and enemies in Asgard itself and the rest of the Nine Realms, and a whole host of sorcerers, witches, and grotesque monsters. Kirby in particular seemed enthused by the project and it shows in his artwork.

By Jack Kirby, Stan Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Never has Thor been more sensational than during these early tales, crafted by Marvel's greatest, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Re-live Stan and Jack's stories of the Norse Gods and Thor before he came to Earth as Don Blake. Witness as these masters breathe life into the thunder god. Read these stories as never before with all-new, modern coloring and six interlocking covers by Olivier Coipel.

Collecting:

Thor: Tales of Asgard by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby #1-6


Book cover of A Fate Inked in Blood: Book One of the Saga of the Unfated

Ella d’Avoine Author Of The Crimson Warrior

From my list on fantasy strong female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

One might read for many reasons, but one of the main reasons for me is to connect and relate to the character. Female voices are very underheard, and I feel incredibly passionate about changing that and creating and reading stories where the female protagonists have strong voices and are not afraid to be heard. I think it’s important that we continue to create female characters that are raw and real and that portray subjects and feelings that need to be heard more.

Ella's book list on fantasy strong female protagonists

Ella d’Avoine Why did Ella love this book?

Firstly, I loved this book because of the Norse mythology within it. That was everything, mixed with the fantasy feel of quests and romance. I really loved the main female character.

Even though the story shows her life being turned upside down and everything changes, she has this constant sense of self and bravery from the beginning, making her a very engaging character. Even when she was shown to be terrified, she still went forward with bravery. She acts from the heart, which I can relate to, and I love connecting with the characters.

By Danielle L. Jensen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fate Inked in Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A shield maiden blessed by the gods battles to unite a nation under a power-hungry king—while fighting her growing desire for his fiery son—in the first book of a Norse-inspired fantasy romance duology from the author of The Bridge Kingdom series.

“THE must-read fantasy of 2024!”—Jennifer L. Armentrout, author of From Blood and Ash

Bound in an unwanted marriage, Freya spends her days gutting fish but dreams of becoming a warrior. And of putting an axe in her boorish husband’s back.

Freya’s dreams abruptly become reality when her husband betrays her to the region’s jarl,…


Book cover of Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

James Lovegrove Author Of The Age of Odin

From my list on Norse mythology via Marvel comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like Neil Gaiman, I came to Norse mythology via the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Marvel comics route. And when I explored the material further I was struck by the darkness and unsanitised oddity of many of the stories. They clearly reflected the Vikings’ view of the world as a cold, hostile, sometimes absurd place that must be met with a strong arm and a hearty laugh if one is to survive not only physically but mentally. There’s something refreshingly honest about such an approach, and when I came to write the third novel in my Pantheon series, The Age of Odin, which recast the myths as a modern military-SF thriller, I leaned heavily into the aspects I found the most appealing as well as the most dramatic, not least the snowy apocalypse that is Ragnarök, while injecting some appropriately ribald humour too.

James' book list on Norse mythology via Marvel comics

James Lovegrove Why did James love this book?

This is less about the myths themselves and more about the culture that spawned them. Ellis Davidson’s analysis of Nordic pre-Christian religion is sober but accessible, and comparisons are made with other contemporary belief systems such as the Celts’ and the ancient Britons’. The book nicely ties together the disparate tales much as the world tree, Yggdrasil, is said to have tied together the Nine Realms.

By H.R. Ellis Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gods and Myths of Northern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Surveys the pre-Christian beliefs of the Scandinavian and Germanic peoples. Provides an introduction to this subject, giving basic outlines to the sagas and stories, and helps identify the charachter traits of not only the well known but also the lesser gods of the age.


Book cover of The Sea of Trolls

Roger Eschbacher Author Of Dragonfriend

From my list on YA and MG fantasy for readers of all ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading middle grade and young adult science fiction and fantasy books via visits to local library branches (thanks, Mom!) and bookmobiles (anybody under 40 remember those?) since I was in grade school and writing in those same genres since 2005. That was when I tapped into my love of MG/YA fantasy novels and began writing about dragons between gigs as a professional animation writer.

Roger's book list on YA and MG fantasy for readers of all ages

Roger Eschbacher Why did Roger love this book?

The Sea of Trolls is an excellent and satisfying read that immersed me in the fascinating Norse/Saxon world of 793 A.D. It’s the first book in one of the best series I've read in a long time—featuring rich world-building, magic at all levels, bold deeds, and a dry sense of humor. 

By Nancy Farmer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sea of Trolls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Jack is an apprentice bard and just beginning to learn the secrets of his mysterious master, when he and his little sister are captured by Viking chief, Olaf One-Brow, and taken to the court of Ivar the Boneless. Ivar is married to a half-troll named Frith, an evil and unpredictable queen with a strange power over her husband's court. Jack is sent on to the kingdom of the trolls, where he has to find the magical well and undo the charm he has cast on Frith. He is accompanied by Thorgill, a shield maiden, aged 12, who wants to be…


Book cover of The Viking Way: Magic and Mind in Late Iron Age Scandinavia

Lilith Saintcrow Author Of A Flame in the North

From my list on European history books for writing Western epic fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like any writer, I’m fascinated with what makes people tick and why they act the way they do. Naturally, this means I read a lot of history. I love reference reading; I love researching arcane questions for a tiny detail that will bring a character or their world to life. Creating epic fantasy is an extension of both my drives as a reader and a writer. Pouring myself into characters who inhabit different settings is a deeply satisfying exercise in both craft and empathy, and each history book has some small bit I can use to make my settings more compelling, more enjoyable for readers, and more real.

Lilith's book list on European history books for writing Western epic fantasy

Lilith Saintcrow Why did Lilith love this book?

This is a pretty dense scholarly work, but that very density makes it a cornucopia for anyone interested in how a specific historical culture regarded magic.

I appreciated that while academic, Price is never boring or needlessly obscure; he does a very good job of not only explaining the historical record but also the best guess at how it can be interpreted.

Not only did it teach me a great deal about the Vikings, but it also taught me other strategies and ways of thinking about other cultures’ magical practices, and for a fantasy writer, that’s pure gold.

By Neil Price,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Viking Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Magic, sorcery and witchcraft are among the most common themes of the great medieval Icelandic sagas and poems, the problematic yet vital sources that provide our primary textual evidence for the Viking Age that they claim to describe. Yet despite the consistency of this picture, surprisingly little archaeological or historical research has been done to explore what this may really have meant to the men and women of the time. This book examines the evidence for Old Norse sorcery, looking at its meaning and function, practice and practitioners, and the complicated constructions of gender and sexual identity with which these…