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Röde Orm

Is then captured by the Moors in Spain where he's initiated into the pleasures of the senses fights for the Caliph of Cordova Escaping from captivity Orm washes up in Ireland where he marvels at those epicene creatures the Christian monks from which he then moves on to play an ever important part in the intrigues of the various Scandinavian kings clans dependencies Eventually Orm contributes. This is the most laughs I ve got out of a book dealing with pillaging raping burning slaving at a galley s oar duels to the death wars at sea or on land The fun starts from the very first chapter where it is dryly suggested that the reason the Northmen were so fond of going a viking to the ends of the known world every spring was to escape the sharp tongues and the fiery tempers of their beloved consorts After being cooped in with them for six long and cold winter months going out at sea must have been sheer blissThe hero of the story is Orm Tostesson the third son of a minor chieftain first met as an impetuous youth with a slight flaw in his character he is uickwitted skillful in the wielding of the spear and the battleaxe talented in poetry attractive to women and a bit of a hypochondriac as a result of overpampering at the hands of his motherThis long epic is the story of Red Orm and his three adventurous journeys at sea of the friendships he made the hardships and the killings the wealth he won and given away the wild parties and the dubious stories he liked to tell the wisdom and fairness that will make him a respected chieftain in his own rightEurope around the year 1000 was a merciless world with hundreds of kingdoms warring ceaselessly and the travels of Orm will take him and us from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the Caliphate of Cordoba under al Mansur to Ireland under Brian Boru to England under Ethelbert the Unready Denmark under Harald Bluetooth where Orm will find a wife and ultimately east to the Dniepr cataracts in the Kiev voyvodateThe interludes between the sea voyages are as just as interesting with memorable scenes at the Yule party in Jutland or at the Thing congregation in Smaland The passion for strong drink brawling wenching and storytelling coupled with the earthy dry and slightly risue humor made me think of classic literary sources like Chaucer Boccaccio or the Arabian Nights here a few examples of poetry from the bookMulled ale for the frozen manAnd mulled ale for the wearyFor mulled ale is the body s friendAnd makes the sick heart merryI heard WordOf bellied sailclothCreak of oarsAnd gold in EastlandThen I smelledA smell rememberedSalt of sprayAnd black pitched boat s keeland a word of advice from an Irish clown A wise man once he is past fifty does not befuddle his senses with strong drink nor make violent love in the cool spring night nor dance on his handsThe book deals also with the rise of Christianity in the Northern kingdoms and I believe the author did a great job of balancing his atheist inclinations and a sharp wit exposing the follies of the zealous priests with the respect shown for the good works the honest faith and the tolerant spirit of the true christians exemplified by father Willibald A live and let live message of tolerance that I consider still relevant todayThe English translation did a very good job of maintaining the style and the rhythm of the old norse sagas but using a language that feels modern and easy to follow The book was a page turner for meAccording to wikipediaThe Swedish writer Sven Stolpe reports that somebody asked author Bengtsson what intentions he had with The Long Ships To which Bengtsson responded that he had no particular intentions I just wanted to write a story that people could enjoy reading like The Three Musketeers or the OdysseyAs far as I am concerned Bengtsson was succesful in his endeavour and his epic deserves to be considered a literary classic I hope it will remain long in print so that future generations can read it and enjoy itedit for spelling

summary Röde Orm

Frans Gunnar Bengtsson’s The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the 10th century when the Vikings roamed rampaged from the northern fastnesses of Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean Bengtsson’s hero Red Orm canny courageous above all lucky is only a boy when he is abducted from his Danish home by the Vikings made to take his place at the oars of their dragon prowed ships Orm. In just a minute I ll be trying my hardest to sell you Goodreading friends on this sensational Viking experience Before that though seeing as how I m foaming over with excitement and appreciation I have multiple people to thank First to the author I know that you re dead but believe you must be sitting at the right hand of Odin smiling that another reader has recognized your magnificent talent for stories your impressive capacity for research and your sure way with words Plaudits to your translator too It couldn t have been easy to get the spare vaguely archaic tone of this right To NYRB Classics Had I known that your choices for reissue were this good I d have sampled your collection much sooner To my lovely level headed wife who may be a bit prejudiced against Norsemen and for that matter frat boys Your initial reluctance to believe that a story about Vikings in the late 10th century could be good made me realize that I d have to work hard to make my case And yes Susan women were featured though the chivalry they were shown was not what you might call refined And finally to Sandmeyer s Bookstore my favorite purveyors of fine reading here in Chicago From the bottom of my ale cup to the tip of my Andalusian steel I say thank you for placing this book in my hands Ellen and Ulrich you and your well read customer who named this the best story ever were absolutely right I now have a new standard for rollicking good fun and ripping good yarnPlot and HistoryTo me the best historical fiction integrates real events into the narrative in such an entertaining way that you hardly notice the education This is exactly that kind of book I now know lots about the Viking Age Al Mansur in Andalusia Brian Boru in Ireland Ethelred the Unready the Battle of Maldon and many of the Norse Kings and chieftains This comes as part of the package featuring the adventures of one Red Orm red being the color of his hair and of his face when he s angry We first meet Orm as a young teen left at home in Scania now southern Sweden with his mother as the older men were a viking He tried his best to defend their farm against a party of thieves and for his efforts gained enough respect to join the raiders as an eual rather than a captive As they sailed along the Frankish coast they allowed an escaped prisoner named Solomon to take refuge Interesting side note Bengtsson was a staunch anti Nazi and would not allow translations that attempted to delete Solomon an honorable Jew from the book After Solomon guided them to the castle of the Castilian Margrave who had betrayed him they sacked the place and made off with the spoils only to be captured and enslaved by an Andalusian fleet At this point I realize that any further attempt to summarize would be folly For one thing there s simply too much Believe me there s enough peril action and intrigue to wear out three if not musketeers The other reason is that you will read this book and will find out what happens on your own You ll enjoy learning about the actual history the customs and the character of the people involved with each new adventure It s also satisfying to track Orm s growth as a man a leader and what must have passed at that time for a menschCultural TidbitsSo much of what I liked about this book comes down to the thousand year old perspective that Bengtsson effected for viewing their lives Imagine a spectrum with the current day at one end and a time when we weren t much than Jane Goodall subjects at the other While I m not sure exactly where this cast of North men would fit in a cultural interpolation it s probably a little to the earlier side of The Princess Bride I suspect the meek back then inherited very little of the earth These were men of large appetites and a single mindedness of purpose Nuanced they were not At a Yule feast Orm attended hosted by wise King Harald Bluetooth all weapons were to be checked at the door and no women were allowed to be present at so tremendous a drinking bout for it was difficult enough King Harald thought to keep the peace when men were by themselves and it would be many times harder if they had women to brag to in their cups Demand for good medical care seemed to outstrip the supply When leeches were deemed ineffective potions made from the juice of sloe boar s gall saltpeter and a pinch of horseradish were the next best thing Orm was pretty certain he would die at one point when the leeches would not suck his blood It was a sure sign of poisoning so he thoughtWith all the pillaging drinking carousing and the like it s hard not to view these Norsemen as a very ungentlemanly lot especially by our standards a full millennium hence There were codes of honor at times but they were akin to Chicago s you know the one that says once you re bought you stay bought Brother Willibald when asked to introduce the Christian God to these men probably got it about right His voice became frenzied and he glared wrathfully from one to the other brandishing his arms and crying Blood wolves murderers and malefactors adulterated vermin Gadarene swine weeds of Satan and minions of Beelzebub generation of vipers and basilisks shall you be cleansed by holy baptism and stand as white as snow in the regiments of the blessed angels Nay I tell you it shall not be so How should men of the north be allowed to enter the gates of heaven You would scrabble at the blessed virgins with your lewd fingers you would raise your war whoops against the seraphim and archangels you would bawl for ale before the throne of God Himself No no I know what I speak of Hell alone will serve for such as you whether you be baptized or no Christianity at a CrossroadsScandinavia at that time was in transition Many still preferred the pagan Gods and in many ways this was practical For instance turning the other cheek was often deadly The most effective witnessing tended to emphasize the luck Christ could bring Which is better a prayer to the Christian God or the blood of a goat when launching ship The empirical evidence was mixed It was funny to hear a new convert talk to others trying to get them to join the fold It reminded me of Book of Mormon where they didn t get it uite right but you could understand why Religious conflict made for an interesting theme throughout the bookThe Writing A Bit of the New With the OldThe narrator was omniscient or at least scient about omni as it was known at the time The story was told episodically and in aggregate made for uite a saga in the Icelandic tradition It even contained bits of poetry and characters who could create rhymes on the spot were greatly esteemed As for style it was straight ahead story telling at its best I often go for literary fare but was happy in this case that these Vikings had no interest in navels The prose may have been unadorned but that s not to say that it was simple minded There was often a uick wittedness and a sly humor that transcended the many centuries For instance I had to laugh when some of the graybeards were sitting around complaining about how soft this new generation of men had become compared to the men of yore There was a certain cleverness in financial matters too In one tongue in cheek exchange one of the men negotiating terms suggested that A should decide how much B should give him and B should decide how much A should give him Or when one of the priests divvying up some windfall was trying to explain how difficult it was for a rich man to pass through the gates of Heaven the men offered to help lessen the riches of others to help better those men s chances Some of you are you still with me Susan will be happy to hear that the women such as Orm s wife Ylva were among the cleverest There were knowing little nods to sexuality too that a modern audience can appreciate Closing the DealBe you man or woman weenie or brute I implore you to embark upon this journey unlikely as it may seem to besot you It s an adventure book that will not insult your intelligence And it s the least dry lesson in 10th century European history you could ever conceive When you re done we ll drink to our luck for having found this and with none of that watery mead either with a good hearty ale

free read ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ï Frans G. Bengtsson

To the Viking defeat of the army of the king of England returns home an off the cuff Christian a very rich man tho back on his native turf new trials tribulations will test his cunning determination Packed with pitched battles blood feuds told throughout with wit high spirits Bengtsson’s book is a splendid adventure that features one of the most unexpectedly winning heroes in modern ficti. The Long Ships An entertaining historical fiction adventure tale featuring badass Vikings doing badass Viking things Overall this was a fast fun often exciting read filled with a surprising amount of historically accurate details and dry humor


About the Author: Frans G. Bengtsson

Frans G Bengtsson 1894–1954 was born and raised in the southern Swedish province of Skåne the son of an estate manager His early writings including a doctoral thesis on Geoffrey Chaucer and two volumes of poetry written in what were considered antiuated verse forms revealed a career long interest in historical literary modes and themes Bengtsson was a prolific translator of Paradise Lost



10 thoughts on “Röde Orm

  1. says:

    ”His voice became frenzied and he glared wrathfully from one to the other brandishing his arms and crying Blood wolves murderers and malefactors adulterated vermin Gadarene swine weeds of Satan and minions of Beelzebub generation of vipers and basilisks shall you be cleansed by holy baptism and stand as white as snow

  2. says:

    At the end of the dark tenth century Vikings and their ancient customs were changing rapidly the bold men sea pirates and land raiders didn't recognize it that was a fatal mistake the harsh climate of Norway Sweden and Denmark even distant Ic

  3. says:

    In just a minute I’ll be trying my hardest to sell you Goodreading friends on this sensational Viking experience Before that though seeing as how I’m foaming over with excitement and appreciation I have multiple people to thank⊕ First to the author I know that you’re dead but believe you must be sitting at the rig

  4. says:

    Brilliant comic novel about life in Viking Sweden Those Vikings were real tough dudes My favorite bit is the seuence with Orm's first captain who has a run of bad luck and ends up being captured and sold into slavery The overseer knows he used to be a big guy and takes special delight in tormenting him but the former captain waits for his

  5. says:

    This year my reading has been to a great extent directed by my travels or visits These also account for my irregular presence in GR I have been either on the go or involved with other projects related to the travelsAs one of my upcoming trips is to the South of Spain to Andalusia I have been reading about the Muslim and medieval times in Spain Prior to this I had also travelled to another enclave that lies deep in the Christian medieval tim

  6. says:

    This is the most laughs I've got out of a book dealing with pillaging raping burning slaving at a galley's oar duels to the death wars at sea or on land The fun starts from the very first chapter where it is dryly suggested that the reason the Northmen were so fond of going a viking to the ends of the known wo

  7. says:

    Orm the son of Toste did not choose to be a viking but Fate sent him on a path towards raiding plunder slavery war and the pursuit of a princess Orm's luck was best“For man can triumph over man and weapon over weapon; against the gods we can pit sacrifice and against witchcraft contrary magic; but against bad luck no man has anything to oppose”Taken in a pirate raid Orm joins the viking crew as they seek plunder in the sout

  8. says:

    The Long Ships An entertaining historical fiction adventure tale featuring badass Vikings doing badass Viking things Overall this was a fast fun often exciting read filled with a surprising amount of historically accurate details and dry humor

  9. says:

    A five hundred page novel about Vikings set in the year 1000? Sure why not? This book has got booty than a Sir Mix a Lot video rimshot Of course I mean old school booty as in creaky wooden chests filled with gold coins and jewel encrusted amulets Red Orm is our hero a strangely lovable barbarian who begins the novel as a pubescent naif and ends it as a wealthy chieftain Oops spoiler alert retroactive I'm not really givin

  10. says:

    Another tough book to review mainly because it has already been reviewed so well by folks like Kalliope and Manny among others Let me say that 'The Long Ships' was the most fun read I've had in a long time Many books I read seem almo

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