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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really gripping adventure story
A gripping adventure story set in Viking Scotland, with blood feuds and battles. Place and atmosphere are vividly evoked, and Sutcliff gets inside the minds of her characters so well that she is able to flesh out the heroes of the Norse sagas. It's brilliant, and I'm going to go back and re-read her other novels!
Published on 24 May 2001

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2.0 out of 5 stars Unfinished and it shows
Rosemary Sutcliff died before completing this book, and maybe it would have been better if it had been left unpublished. Compared to the rest of her oeuvre, Sword Song is severely lacking in almost every department. The protagonist (if he can be called that) is Bjarni, a young callous Viking who is banished from his homeland and seeks his fortune overseas. Bjarni is...
Published on 22 Aug 2012 by Pryce


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really gripping adventure story, 24 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Sword Song (Hardcover)
A gripping adventure story set in Viking Scotland, with blood feuds and battles. Place and atmosphere are vividly evoked, and Sutcliff gets inside the minds of her characters so well that she is able to flesh out the heroes of the Norse sagas. It's brilliant, and I'm going to go back and re-read her other novels!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hail and farewell, 9 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Sword Song (Hardcover)
I've only just discovered this final novel by one of the greatest historical novelists of our time (and I don't just mean children's historical novelists). It fits, though only marginally, into the 'dolphin signet ring' sequence that began with <The Eagle of the Ninth>, fitting into the gap between the end of <Sword at Sunset> and <The Shield Ring>. It would be worth reading for that reason alone; but it's also a solidly researched story of British Vikings, free from sentimentality and moralising and with Sutcliff's usual vivid characterisation, especially as regards the warts-and-all hero, Bjarni. He's not so obviously appealing as (say) Marcus or Justin or even Aquila, but he's a realistic depiction of the complex of loves, hates, loyalties and ferocities, expertise and ignorance, intelligence and supersition, that you might expect from a ninth-century barbarian. He's accompanied by Hugin, another of Sutcliff's adorable dogs: I was in constant fear lest something awful happened to him, but don't worry, it doesn't.

The author died before completing the final draft of the story, and it does show. The tale is episodic, some of the episodes are a bit disconnected, and the ending, though neat in that it takes the hero back to his starting point, is ragged in terms of story development. The heroine, Angharad, doesn't appear until very late and her story is rather truncated; I'd have liked to hear more about her. Nonetheless the book is a worthy farewell to a favourite author. People who write as well as Sutcliff ought not to be allowed to die!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book - make a great movie, 19 Nov 2008
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This review is from: The Sword Song Of Bjarni Sigurdson (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
Don't be put off by the cover, this is a fast-moving, great story. It follows the trials and adventures of teen Norseman Bjarni as he moves around the turbulent world of Viking Age Northern Britain and Eire. The story is gutsy and brings you into Bjarni's often violent world from the start when he accidently kills a bullying priest for injuring his beloved dog and is banished. He learns of cruelty, spite, love, honour, valour and kindness. And we get to be part of this complex world...learn to man the viking ships and feel the battles, smell the sea, settle in the hall, and meet the folk: good, bad and in-between. Cracking adventure and well-researched. GOOD STUFF! I'm looking for more!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sword Song, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Sword Song (Hardcover)
Rosemary Sucliff's last book - it was published posthumously. She died in the afternoon, having spent the morning working on the second draft of the book, which gives added poignancy to the story.
I kniew that this book had been completed to publication by another hand, and feared that the story might feel unfinished or rough round the edges, but not so. It's vintage Sutcliff and would not disappoint her many fans.
Proper oldfashioned storytelling and a good story to tell.
And, of course, as a lefthander myself I have much in sympathy with the hero!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unfinished and it shows, 22 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Sword Song Of Bjarni Sigurdson (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
Rosemary Sutcliff died before completing this book, and maybe it would have been better if it had been left unpublished. Compared to the rest of her oeuvre, Sword Song is severely lacking in almost every department. The protagonist (if he can be called that) is Bjarni, a young callous Viking who is banished from his homeland and seeks his fortune overseas. Bjarni is unlikeable from the opening chapter and it proves very difficult to warm to him. As a result, it's hard to invest yourself in him and his predicaments and once that happens the book becomes laboured. Perhaps if Ms Sutcliff had completed the book to her satisfaction it would have been worth reading.
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The Sword Song Of Bjarni Sigurdson (Red Fox Classics)
The Sword Song Of Bjarni Sigurdson (Red Fox Classics) by Rosemary Sutcliff (Paperback - 5 April 2001)
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