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Legend of the Last Vikings - Taklamakan [Paperback]

John D. Halsted , R. U. Books
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Feb 2011
The Indiana Jones of the 11th Century! Finalist - ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award A VIKING EPIC! Action, Adventure and Romance from Norway, across the Steppe and along the Silk Route into China's notorious Taklamakan desert! Experience friendship, dignity, honour, love, betrayal and greed against the backdrop of a hostile environment which gives no quarter - just what one expects from a Viking. Synopsis: As the Viking age is brought to an end in 1066 with ignominious defeat at the battle of Stamford Bridge, a rag-tag group of Vikings conclude the quiet life is not for them and they decide to go-a-Viking one last time. They retrace a journey of their youth across the European Steppe and down the mighty Dniepr River to Byzantium. However a chance discovery in a Kiev library leads them to venture even further afield - to Astrakhan, across the Caspian sea, up the mighty Oxus river, through Parthia and Bactria and along the ancient Silk Route into Asia and Tian Xia (China). Engaged in a battle not of their choosing, they inflict fatalities on the sinister and evil Black Scorpions who want to exact their revenge. Pursued, they flee by night across the Roof of the World and meet the remnants of the "lost" European tribe of Asia, the Hepthalites, who offer them protection in their city, hidden in the Tien Shan - the Celestial Mountains. A place where romance is kindled and love unexpectedly blossoms. During their winter sojourn in the Hidden City they gather more clues, and in the spring continue with their quest, on into the Taklamakan desert. The desert so called by locals because those who venture in seldom venture out. More danger and peril lies in wait for this rag-tag Viking crew as they travel along the Silk Route - the world's first super-highway. At the eastern end of their journey they meet the Lang Ren, the Wolf people of Lou Lan, outcasts thieves and criminals living in an abandoned city in the desert. A city without water. A city about to die. A city in which the final clue to their quest is uncovered. What fate awaits this rejected element of Asian society? Can this motley crew intercede on their behalf? Will the fundamental cultural differences between the Vikings, Jews and Moslems in the group cause them to self destruct, or will the adversities they face cause them to overcome these differences and become a unified fighting unit? A beautifully bound 420 page hardback with historical companion, place name lexicon, character descriptions and maps.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Abela Publishing (4 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907256008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907256004
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,001,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Between historical research and fictional account, Halsted explores the Viking world from a fresh, new perspective. Tearing past the course stereotypes that Vikings are condemned to, Legend of the Last Vikings: Taklamakan represents a flourishing world of unity, justice and a rich thriving community. Halsted challenges each and every tradition creating a united world of Christians, Muslims and Jews struggling together as one against a common evil in a time before the devastation of the Crusades. Taklamakan pushes boundaries, refusing to believe the world to be divided; this brave and bold narrative dares to confront accepted views. Battling against the swelling seas, the torturous currents, and the sweltering heat of the deserts, Ulf Uspakson scours the land for Ingvar Vittefarne, a lost Viking. Not only does Mother Nature prove to be an obtrusive obstacle, but the menacing and sinister Black Scorpions ruthlessly pursue Uspakson and his men across the edges of the world determined to end their adventures, permanently. Our Viking explorers, with their long flowing blond hair, knee high boots and pale skin, a guise that would hardly go unnoticed under the beating sun of the East, find themselves making new comrades, and discovering perfectly preserved hidden worlds. Despite attempting to blend in to the backdrop they find themselves unable to escape the blood thirsty Black Scorpions, who remain firmly on their trail. Educated in South Africa but currently based in England, John Halsted started writing for pure passion. After completing his studies and working in different fields and travelling around the world, he commenced an in-depth personal study of Viking history (from which his family are allegedly descended), whose result is this promising novel. Emotionally engaging, tugging on heart strings, full of spectacle and painted with such fine detail, Halsted s entire canvas is a haunting display of Viking culture, eleventh century history and forgotten people. The author unearths a past that lays hidden behind continuously shifting political systems and boundaries. On a whirlwind of adventures we are whisked off to meet Zoroastrians, Hephthalites, and lost Buddhist relics, on an incomparable and unforgettable journey for forgotten truths. --Book-promotion.com

This is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction, putting flesh on the dry bones of history, demonstrating the insatiable restless human desire for discovery, adventure and the pursuit of knowledge. Be drawn into a classic sojourn which spans many religions and beliefs and incorporates the ingredients of friendship, dignity, honour, love, betrayal and greed; against the backdrop of a hostile environment which gives no quarter just what one expects from a Viking. An intellectual read, leaving the door open with a promise of more to come. Riveting stuff! --Paul Sweetland

EXCELLENT! The book tells a story that captures the reader on several levels. What appears to be an historical novel becomes an adventure set in a background of rich experiences and wide diversity. This adventure, alongside the stories of the different settlements and religions, and that of a moving love story, means that this book provides a compelling and exciting journey of discovery for both the characters in the book and the reader themselves. --Laura Stannard --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Halsted was born in Durban, South Africa and educated at Westville Boys High and later in life attended Bath University. Despite never being considered an academic at school he was a voracious reader of historical fiction, action and adventure novels. At school he excelled in middle-distance athletics winning numerous provincial championships. After school he completed his compulsory two year national service in the South African Air Force whereafter he toured Europe for a year and a half. Returning to South Africa in 1980 he worked in shipping until international sanctions took hold. He then worked in motor manufacturing where he was introduced to computers. Attending night school in 1985 he gained a diploma in Information Technology becoming a programmer. In 1987 he married a New Zealander and moved to New Zealand where he moved into project management and later Organisational Performance Improvement. He took out New Zealand citizenship in 1993 when he ran for Parliament. In 1999 the family moved to England where he attended Bath University. On completing of his Masters degree he embarked on a personal project to research his Viking ancestry. His research in this area led to him writing his first novel. Halsted's family background has given him an enthusiasm for the Viking period. His academic studies gave him the discipline required to research and complete his first novel Legend of the Last Vikings - Taklamakan. He is currently working on the second in what is intended to be a trilogy. He lives in Southeast England with his wife and four children. His interests include calligraphy and long-distance mountain biking. $1.00 from every book sale is donated to the Tearfund for work amongst the refugees in Darfur. He has also raised funds for charities through his summer holiday mountain-bike tours. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3 star
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1 star
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An Honest Review 29 Nov 2009
Readers may do well to first read the companion at the back as it gives an outline of the major characters and puts the period into prespective.
The first three chapters are a bit slow, but that is because they outline how this group of Vikings came to make the journey in the first place - and they do have a bearing on parts of the story thereafter. And then it takes off............ As one reviewer kindly said, "Once you're through the first few chapters you wont want to put it down. Its a page turner" and thats how I wrote it. Always something happening.

Wow... thank you so much for a fantastic book. Finished it last night after a marathon of reading it. After reading Cornwell, Giles Kristian, Robert Low & Tim Severin's viking sagas + a few others, I must say that your fantastic saga was a refreshing one in the way it was written, the story so unlike any of the others but still soo breathtaking, fun and interesting. I truly loved every second of it. I found your alternate ending today which is already printed out.
Odd Helge Gundersen
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read 22 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
just could not put it down, if you have any interest in viking folklore, this is one for you to enjoy
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel, from a new Author to me but ... 16 Oct 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent novel, from a new Author to me but who knows his subject matter and delivers a visual and engaging tale
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Reading 11 May 2011
By Charlotte Watkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I give 3 stars for above average to good, four for an extra good book, and five for exceptionally fantastic.

I thought this book was fantastic. The author did a great job of telling an unusual story, bringing to life the main character and his thoughts through his travels. There were several passages that I felt were well put and interestingly insightful -somewhat poetic and philisophical for the situation and time period - but not overpowering and demanding of too much intellect. I'm sorry for that description, but it just seemed to flow! Our hero had a sense of humor and character... someone I would have have enjoyed meeting.

Also, the cities, people and regions he traveled were well described. I found myself going to the internet to research history. When that happens, I know I have been drawn in - it has "Kindled" more than simply reading.

This is one of those books I would enjoy reading again... and would enjoy reading a follow-up to.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent adventure 11 Sep 2012
By Buck_Nekkid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm a huge fan of the Viking Era and found this novel to be a noble effort, but lacking in authenticity anc meaningful characterization. It does have an epic sweep and some wonderful scenes, but I've seen this done far better in another novel available through Kindle called Dreki here: http://www.amazon.com/DREKI-ebook/dp/B004KKZ4QG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347375153&sr=8-1&keywords=DREKI. If you like the era, read both. The stories are very different, but each valuable in its way.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Bad 19 Oct 2011
By JMG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This really could have been a good yarn.

Unfortunately, it is in desperate need of a decent editor. Poor spelling and incorrect usage abound, which I found to be highly distracting. One example: "Quarterising" for "cauterising". Also, "Ibn" used as the first name for an Arab character; "Ibn" is a connective used in proper names meaning "son of", i.e. Ahab ibn Mohammed. It is not, in itself, a name.

I also don't really understand why writers of hisorical fiction find it necessary to contradict known facts: "Beket-Ata...I have used author's license and have had him living some seven humdred years ahead of his actual time." Why?

All in all, a huge disappointment and not recommended.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A TRIUMPH!" 27 May 2010
By Geraldine Ahearn - Published on Amazon.com
Author John Halsted invites the reader to step into an adventure, packed with history, action, and drama. It's the end of the Viking age as the mysterious journey takes us along the silk route into China's notorious desert, where you may enter, but may not leave. A Viking saga introduces us to ancient people, hidden kingdoms, and lost tribes. A place where love blossoms, and danger becomes more intense as the Viking crew continue to travel. I highly recommend "Legend Of The Last Vikings: Taklamakan" to all those who enjoy historical adventures, combined with mystery, and action. As the journey continues across the European steppe, conflict, evil, and battle waits for the diverse crew. What are the Vikings up against, and do they find what they are looking for? Who will survive in a city that's ready to die? Who are the Lang Ren, and do they survive? Does the Viking crew find the answers to their questions, and who will win the battle? The story becomes a Masterpiece that is nothing short of 'a triumph.' The reader will experience an Adrenaline Rush as suspense and unstoppable action explode page-after-page in a world that's filled with romance, greed, and betrayal. Has the final clue to the Viking's quest been uncovered, and what plan do they have for the thieves and criminals? The author created a searing drama of courage in a shattering emotional experience you will never forget. This novel is filled with as much action as THE PATRIOT, and is as dramatic as DANCES WITH WOLVES, with Kevin Costner.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read 11 Sep 2011
By Odd Helge Gundersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow... thank you so much for a fantastic book. Finished it last night after a marathon of reading it. After reading Cornwell, Giles Kristian, Robert Low & Tim Severin's viking sagas + a few others, I must say that your fantastic saga was a refreshing one in the way it was written, the story so unlike any of the others but still soo breathtaking, fun and interessting. I truly loved every second of it, found your alternate ending today which already printed out. My better half will just have to deal with me nosing down in the saga once again tonight :-)
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