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The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings Paperback – 7 Apr 2011


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The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings + The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends (Mammoth Books) + The Greek Myths: The Complete and Definitive Edition
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241953219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241953211
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy was translated into 25 languages, and has sold well over one million copies worldwide. He is a poet, historical novelist for children and authority on traditional tale who has presented many BBC radio programmes and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries. He is the President of the School Library Association, an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, a patron of the Society of Storytelling, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His memoir of childhood, The Hidden Roads, was published in 2009.

Bracelet of Bones, the first of his Viking Sagas, was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Scramasax, in 2012.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Allie B on 18 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
I had always meant to read the Norse myths but had never got around to it until recently. I'm so glad that I chose Kevin Crossley-Holland's retelling of these fascinating myths. He has skilfully drawn on multiple sources from pre-Christian and Christian Iceland and other Nordic countries; however most of all he draws from Snorri Sturluson's 'Prose Edda' (written in approx 1220). If you're not familiar with the myths, I would advise reading the 'introduction' beforehand; it contains a map of the nine worlds that the Norsemen believed in. At least then you can understand the various references to each realm in the myths. The myths themselves are far more thrilling and entertaining than I thought they would be - many of them portray the ongoing tensions and fights between the Gods and the giants. I kept thinking how much the works of 20th and 21st C fantasy writers - from Tolkien to C. S. Lewis to Neil Gaiman - are influenced by them.

The Gods and Goddesses are intriguing characters and some are multi-faceted in that they are worshipped for more than one reason - e.g. Freya is not just Goddess of love but also of war (she rides to battle in a chariot drawn by two cats!). Loki (the trickster) has to be one of my favourites. It was interesting to read more about the traditions and beliefs of pre-Christian Scandinavia like the boat burials too. I'm going to miss reading about the Gods' various exploits and I can actually see why the old Norse worshipped them - far more exciting than the monotheistic religions. They also seem more relevant to our own British culture than Greek myths, due both to the fact that we were invaded by Vikings and in the wider sense of reflecting a similar northern European outlook. Yet unlike the Greek myths, Norse myths are strangely and sadly overlooked here; they should be on the national curriculum. All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend this version of the beautiful Norse myths; it has instantly become one of my favourite books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Luna lestrange on 10 Mar 2013
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This book is a perfect beginners guide to Norse mythology. It has Crossley-Holland's retelling of the myths and notes about each one.
Would reccomend to anyone who is interested in Norse myths and wants to find out more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs janet smith on 18 July 2013
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Full of great information, but also easy to read and understand, my knowledge of this subject enhanced by this wonderful.book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fredrick A. Stockdale on 11 April 2014
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Covers the Norse Myths in a clear and readable fashion. Unlike some other books however there is not too much analysis and history behind the Myths, but this is irrelevant if you just want to read/know the Myths.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Suss on 20 April 2012
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This book is entertaining, easy to read and informative. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, like me who want's an introduction on Norse mythology.
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By JuliaH on 22 Jun 2014
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As always Kevin Crossley-Holland tells a good story without loosing the essence of the original myth. Other retellings sometimes loose the drama but this version never does.
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By P. Meier on 18 Mar 2014
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A very good and well researched publication of a subject not often covered. While' on occasion presented in a somewhat haphazard chronology the overall coverage of the nortern myth is excellent, in particular for a relative newcomer. A book well suited for an introduction to northern mythology
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By Gwydion on 17 Dec 2013
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No, I know that's not really accurate, but Tolkien loved the Norse tales. This is just the book for those of us who can't cope with the original in ON or even in translation! Only criticism is in the notes C-H refers to the Babylonian creation myth as 'Indo-European' and also says the Indo-Europeans, or at least their myths, spread to China and Japan??
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