In ninth century Denmark, a child born to a slave is also a slave, and the property of his mother's master. Halfdan, the son of an Irish noblewoman and the Danish chieftain who captured and enslaved her, has grown up a slave in his own father's household. But the Norns, the weavers of the fates of all men, have different plans for him - although rarely do they give a gift without exacting a price.
The Strongbow Saga is an epic tale of one man's unstoppable quest for justice and vengeance that carries him across the ninth century world of the Vikings. In Viking Warrior, Book One of the saga, a cruel twist of fate both frees Halfdan and robs him of the mother he loves, setting him upon the path to a new destiny. But a brutal act of treachery and murder upends Halfdan's new life, sending him on the run with ruthless hunters hot on his trail.
©2006 Judson Roberts (P)2014 Judson Roberts
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"Great book, great performance"
Though it's about a violent culture that lived over a thousand years ago, the story has universal appeal as it deals with what it means to be a person and the yearning for freedom and family. The story is very well written in simple prose with compelling characters. Though it's largely a tale about men, the women's stories also have depth and are treated with respect.
Jeff has an excellent voice for storytelling. He does justice to all the dialogue and tone changes through the narration.
My personal favorite is Derdriu .
The most important thing about a novel that is first in a series is whether or not that novel makes a reader (listener) look forward to the next novel in the series. Viking Warrior has done that for this reader (listener). I look forward to hearing about the continuing adventures of Halfdan in the next novel in the Strongbow Saga, Dragons From The Sea.
The hero of the story, Halfdan, is born a thrall to a household in Denmark. However, there is more in both his family history - and his future - than the life of drudgery that a thrall can expect. Halfdan experiences a change of fortune that sets his life in a new direction. The manner in which this change of fortune occurs and the reactions of those who had known him as a thrall were a bit of a surprise, as they don't "fit the mold" of the change of fortune theme that is somewhat common in literature. That's not to say that his change of fortune is without conflict, as is to be expected, but I won't elaborate more in order to avoid spoilers.
I listened to the audio production of this novel, narrated by Jeff Hays. There was a long musical intro that had me a bit concerned that there might be too much in the way of audio effects (I can't stand when narration is hard to hear over background music). Fortunately, that was not the case. It was just an intro. There were a few sound effects in the narration that took me by surprise, but they didn't detract from the narration or the story. Jeff Hays voices each of the characters in the story suitably and distinctly (no females annoyingly portrayed badly by a male voice trying to imitate female vocal range).
The narrator did an amazing job and really brought each character to life. The story was interesting, although as an historian I find the author at times too free with the historical background, although overall it was a fun diversion during my commute. Despite amy criticism about historical accuracy, it is far historically correct than most historical fiction.
"Made me want to learn more about Vikings"
The thing I liked most about the book was the authors 'note' at the end, where he talked about Viking history and different real life events that he fit the book around. It is very well researched. It really made me want to learn more about Vikings and their history. I might go seek out a non-fiction book on the subject now.
What I liked least? The story wasn't overly interesting in it's own right. the main character was too wonderful/good at everything. 14 year old slave who (despite having chores to do as a slave) has been taught latin, blacksmith skills and expert bowmanship and hunting. Then when he starts learning the sword he picks it up extremely quickly and can soon beat an expert warrior. There seems to be nothing he can't do.
The pacing of the book is also off. So much is told by others rather than shown, And as we get to the end of the book towards a climax (which wasn't well built up to or foreshadowed) it stalls. The 'climax' comes early and we are left with another story told by someone else (a new character out of nowhere). At that point I couldn't care about that story. After that the ending just peters out.
I've listened to several of Jeff Hays' other books. He is a great narrator and I enjoy his work. He provides varied accents and voices for each character. He puts in extra effort to sound production )music and other stuff). Certainly would pick up other books he does.
My only complaint (which I have made previously) is some sound effects on top of the narration. In this book someone spits and Jeff added the sound of him spitting over/under the words. I know some people like this sort of additions. I generally don't. So it's more a personal preference thing and not something "wrong" per se.
He also pronounced 'roof' as 'ruff', like a fake dog bark. This is not a problem. It just amused me every single time he said the word.
I might go find some Viking history books now
The book title also strikes me as extremely bland. Its about a warrior who is a viking, so "Viking Warrior". Lots of thought went in there. But then again, as I write this "American Sniper" is going gangbusters in cinema, so maybe the "what you see is what you get" naming is what people want.
Overuse of Metaphors. To many Like this.. Like That...
Modern Terms, Language, and Slang distract from the fact that this is a Viking story. Characters go on long winded monologues.
Mistborn- Brandon Sanderson narrated by Michael Kramer
Slow narrative, rushed dialogue.
Disappointment. I liked the narrator in other work.
"The cover did not sell me on this book."
I have over a thousand books in my collection and this is one book or series of books that may get a re-listen. I can't say it is my favorite but while I was listening to it I really enjoyed it. My Dad also listened to this book and gave it his typical "good review" by demanding to know when I would be getting the next book in the series.
I got this book as a gift and was unsure at first but I am now hooked.
The main character got the most treatment so he is my favorite.
His voice is good, and there was a surprise that grabbed my attention as I was expecting just narration but got a bit more at one point.
I am looking forward to book three.
"Great Book, Lively Narration"
The audio edition certainly brought the story and the characters to life. The narration is well paced, builds a solid picture in your head and sounded great overall. I would prefer the book, but that is just because I prefer books in general.
A few complaints of the narration. The laughs, coughs, sighs, etc sounded prerecorded and somewhat unnatural. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the voices of the characters apart, and as mentioned by other reviewers, not very viking-ish. Nevertheless, it was very enjoyable and lively.
There certainly not many YA books that is similar to Viking Warrior. Few has as much historical depth and detail as this, I believe this is what sets it apart. Even though it seems to be a simple "quest" story (I'm referring more to the second and third book here), it has a lot of twists and turns and strong human emotions.
The "life and death" situation in this book is much more serious, perhaps due to the sometimes gory details. This makes it much more mature compared to other YA books. I would strongly recommend this book to more matured middle school/freshmen students.
"We're going Viking!"
An hour or two into Viking Warrior and I'm thinking, "Oh great, just another hero's journey adaptation with a 15 year-old protagonist."
After the recent successes of countless mediocre YA novels with similar MOs I was not expecting much.
I just finished listening to the book and I have to say that I was wrong to have judged the book so harshly before completing it. I was absolutely right to peg it as a hero's tale but that's not terrible. Lots of good stories are hero's tales.
Setting: This is a new environment for me, I haven't reach any Viking historical fiction and thought it would be a bit of fun. After all, many of the books we read take place in distant lands that sound a lot like England. I enjoyed the setting because it forced me to consider how life in northern Europe in the Middle Ages must have differed from England and France.
Characters: The main character of the story is a young boy who has his life flipped upside down. The boy is tossed into a situation with a experienced mentor to guide him through the transition he has just made in his life. He grows to love the mentor but his time with the mentor is ultimately cut short. This is the story of Harry Potter and Dumbledore. Or is it Ender Wiggin and Mazer Rackham? Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Or is it ______ and ______? This was the only part of the story I didn't like; the main characters were very formulaic in nature.
Story: I enjoyed the story. It was engaging, exciting and unexpected. The characters were put through many unique situations where I had to ask myself, "is this historically accurate?" because I didn't believe it could be. The combat was detailed, intense and fast paced. Great story and a great set up for a series. Spolier alert: it's a Viking version of the Count of Monte Cristo.
Narrator: This is my first time listening to a book read by Jeff Hays. In the beginning (when I was skeptical) I thought his voice wasn't deep enough for the men and it was too deep for the women. However, as I continued to listen he won me over. He did a great job of keeping the story engaging and exciting and reflecting the tone of each scene in his reading. He is a good narrator and I look forward to listening to his future work.
All in all, I recommend Viking Warrior for the historical fiction fan who is interested in a fun Viking adventure.
"A good story of viking life"
I liked this story a lot and it left me wanting more.
What was good:
The narrator's performance, it did take me a little to get used to but it worked once I did.
The story is well written, interesting and seems well researched.
What I didn't like:
It got wrapped up a bit too neatly in the end with the appearance of the neighbour that owed a debt to the family and then proceeded to guide Halfdan on the way. This was ok but I think it could have been done better.
"Fast-paced and well-researched"
This is how I like my historical fiction. Fast-paced, action-packed, with likable and sympathetic characters, high stakes, and epic overtones. If you like fantasy fiction and have a taste for Nordic history, this book is for you.
My only complaint is that it's too obviously the first episode in a saga. I'm prefer an omnibus so I can read them all at once.
"Better than I first thought"
If, like me you have exhausted all the viking stories on Audible that you can see-Romantic Viking fiction excluded-This will do. It's not Bernard Cornwall or Giles Kristian..but its OK.
The reader has an American accent which id fine and the story is the usual revenge saga..would I recommend it, well yes I would. I'm going too get the next one now.
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