Book Review: God's Viking: Harald Hardrada: The Life and Times of the Last Great Viking

Archives

by Nic Fields

Barnsley, Eng.: Pen & Sword / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2019. Pp. xviii, 366+. Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $44.95. ISBN: 1473823420

A Most Remarkable Viking Adventurer

If published as a novel, the life of Harald Hardrada (c.?1015-1066) could quite easily be dismissed as highly improbable, yet, as one critic wrote many years ago in Amra, a publication devoted to Conanesque heroic fantasy, the great Viking’s life demonstrates that “it can be done”.

At 15 Harald fought to help make his brother King of Norway, but was later exiled when his brother was ousted, to become a mercenary serving, among others, the Prince of Kiev (1032-1034). He later commanded the Byzantine Emperor’s Varangian Guard (1034-1042), fighting in Sicily, Anatolia, and even Mesopotamia, and eventually became King of Norway himself (1046-1066). Harald then made an unsuccessful bid for the throne of Denmark, and died fighting to claim that of England. In the process Harald become the subject of ballads and sagas for generations.

In God’s Viking, Nic Fields, a sometime Royal Marine with a doctorate in Ancient History and a string of excellent books to his credit, sets Harald’s life firmly within the tumultuous events of his times, explaining the complexities of the military practice, political developments, dynastic struggles, and more, to help us better understand the man’s life, the roles he played and the stage on which he acted.

God’s Viking is an excellent read about a remarkable character

---///---

 

Note: God’s Viking is also available in several e-editions.

 

StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close