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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complicated, but rewarding!
Larson's second viking book surprizes me.

Having read the first and spoken to him about it and thus being prepared for this sequel, I was still astonished of how much it captivated me!

Reading this book on the bus to and from work, as I often do,I found it confusing and I muddled up characters and events in my head and therefore put it aside for...
Published on 15 Aug 2007 by B. Jonsson

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Gave up on it
Was looking for a book to put on my Kindle to read to my 10 year old son, gave up after he showed a lack of interest in the story strand involving Iceland and Greenland. Also, the remaining strand set in the native american village started having age sensitive subjects
Published 10 months ago by C Robinson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complicated, but rewarding!, 15 Aug 2007
By 
B. Jonsson "Literate Warlock" (falun, dalarna sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Larson's second viking book surprizes me.

Having read the first and spoken to him about it and thus being prepared for this sequel, I was still astonished of how much it captivated me!

Reading this book on the bus to and from work, as I often do,I found it confusing and I muddled up characters and events in my head and therefore put it aside for easier pursuits. Taking it up in my vacation, I was totally absorbed by it and finished the second half of it in no time.

Larson is probably the most skilled viking author today, with his simplistic style of narrative.

"page turner" "couldn't put it down" etc are all worn out words and phrases, turning up in indifferent reviews on the back of paperbacks.

I DID put it down and WANTED TO put it down, so as to savour the moment and not finishing it too fast, thereby missing a lot of Larson's special atmosphere.

Having finished this one, I just wanted to go out and find the third volume..

King Olaf is but one of the characters that came on strong in this volume, being a cunning and resourceful man, devout Christan, bound to clash with Wolfgar-Ragnar and the other Vitkis of the first book.

Having said that, it's ovious to the reader that Larson himself, is the on coming on strongest!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arena of the gods, 21 Sep 2007
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
The North Atlantic and its environs is an ideal place to seek gods. Distances are vast, and navigation is tricky at the best of times. Extensive storms sweep from the Arctic, carrying away ships and crews. Thick, impenetrable fogs hide ships and sailors, leaving them lost or far from destinations. Relying on luck isn't an option, and sea, storm and other gods are appealed to as a matter of course. The intrusion of new deities only brings confusion - if the old gods fail, will the new ones be reliable? In this adventure tale, a pantheon of gods emerge, each with its capabilities and followers. It's the followers who seize our attention, chiefly the vitki Wolfgar. Blown far off course by one of those terrible storms, he and ten survivors arrive on the shores of North America, a place of legend and mystery.

Be prepared to have your attention seized and held when you take up this book. Larson's ability as a writer, demonstrated by the first volume of this trilogy, "Eye of Odin", is carried further with this story. Conspiracies abound in this story as Larson builds events. He doesn't let the reader rest as he first conveys Wolfgar's contact with, then immersion in a Lenni Lenape village. Wolfgar and his companions are welcomed by most of the village, including the shaman, Silent Owl. The shaman is impressed by Wolfgar's piety for his god, Odin. Silent Owl's own deity, Okeus, has granted him many visions, most notably that these "Swanukken" - sea people - would arrive. As a vitki, Wolfgar also has visions sent by Odin, but there are no conflicts between these deities. Wolfgar and Silent Owl conclude that their respective gods may be the same under different names. Others, however, view the intruders, particularly the holy man Wolfgar, as a threat to their own gods and, thus, their society.

While Wolfgar and his companions struggle to come to terms with their isolation, events at home - Greenland and Norway - are less amenable. In Greenland, Erik the Red has made a settlement, but it will stay with the traditional gods. He has sworn to keep the colony free of the intruder from the south. For this is a time of challenge by the Christians. Having taken over most of the British Isles, Christianity is challenging the old Norse gods. Conversions have been made in southern Norway, but the northern districts hold out. One adamant holdout is Wolfgar's son, Ragnar, who claims visions from Odin that his father is still alive somewhere. Ragnar's life takes its own serious turn when he's taken by Danish raiders. In Saxony, he's made a slave to a local lord, but a seriously ill child brings yet another twist to his life, and this story.

Norway, divided by gods, is ripe for unification. Olaf Trygvasson, born to a mother fugitive from Norwegian politics, has returned to the North Atlantic. Converted to Christianity by a miracle healing, he vows to bring both unity and the faith to his homeland. His methods are, to say the least, direct. He fills a dining hall with his enemies and sets the building afire. The object lesson isn't lost on other barons - especially when Olaf offers them a simple choice, convert or have their heads hacked off. The "loving Jesus" has a forceful emissary in Olaf, who continues his depredations against "heathen" gods by burning temples. His accompanying bishop is gleeful at Olaf's successes. The manner of conversion is unimportant to him.

Larson's handling of the issues of "faith" is supremely balanced. He plays no favourites among the gods, parcelling out miracles and special powers to each. The conflicts arising from the intrusions of new gods, particularly Christianity are deftly dealt with. He builds his characters around this theme well. When the Norse go a-viking, raiding towns and ships, these activities we usually consider as fundamental when we consider them during these times are mostly a side-light. Larson is to be congratulated for giving us a new image of the sea-faring Norsemen. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Transcontinental and firstclass Vikings-novel, 23 Dec 2006
This review is from: Wolfgar: The Story of a Viking (Hardcover)
"If it takes a thousand years, or even ten thousand, Odin will regain his place of Glory."

(Ragnar Wolfgarsson)

Erik Thorvaldsson, called "the Red" returns after threes years of banishing to Iceland, in order to enlist settlers for his colony. In the year 985 he startet to sail with a fleet of 25. But only 14 ships should arrive at Greenland. On board of the lost ships were 350 men, women and children....

From the historical facts around the missing persons and other nameless men from Iceland, which already put their feet on "America", years before Leif Erikson, James Richard Larson develops a fantastic, quite conclusive story about his protagonist "Wulfgar". After the nordic seer and Priest has stranded with his ship "Raven", he and its people find friendly admission within the tribe of the Leni Lenape. But the "Swanukken" (algokin: Seawater people) are not equally welcomed to each of the "Skraelings" (oldnordic: "Weak men")....

....after years of waiting Wolfgars wife Katrine finally marries Bjarni Herjulfsson, which (after the Greenland Saga) is considered as a discoverer of "America", but who didn't set his feet on the continent and was therefore called "the Cautious". Ragnar Wulfgarsson is convinced of the fact, that his father is still alive and goes on board the "Sleipnir", Leif Erikssons longship....

....as it's third story the novel offers some of the delivered narrations around the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason ("Crowleg"), who in Larsons version grows up after his escape with his mother Astrid at the court of the Russian ruler Vladimir I. (Swjatoslawitsch) and finally returns after numerous adventures in Pommern, Southengland and Ireland to land of his royal ancestors.

Gradually the author leads the different stories, which stretches from North America to Russia, together, alt last in a fulminant final in the middle of the 990-decade. Beside already known persons from "The Eye Of Odin", with the more exciting sequal the reader makes the acquaintance with further strong characters. Very impressing is the intercultural meeting between Vikings and Indians, particularly the spiritual and ritual exchange between "Wolfgar" an his shaman-colleague "Silent Owl". The discriptions of the (in later times called) Delawares with their "Walum Olum" and their enemies, the "Susquehannocks", who called them "Barkeaters" are arousing associations to the novels of James Fenimor Cooper. Also this time Larson's second epos neither misses the typical black humor of it's genre or the question about religious tolerance. A central topic are the political considerations and methods that came along with bringing Christianity to the last heaths of Northern Europe, which often only offered the choice between "baptism or sword".

With "Wulfgar" Larson delivers again a fantastic Vikingsaga and historical novel, that in it's epic style of narration and it's historical content, stands in one line with such novels of James A. Michener or Gary Jennings. The new "high priest of the Asen" from Wisconsin proves, that also his second book belongs to the first class of the Vikingsnovels. Evaluated with 5 Amazonstars, in addition it also let's expect the already announced sequal "Vikings of The East" with impatience.
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2.0 out of 5 stars the story seem to go nowhere, 3 April 2014
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Not a very happy book. It leaves a bad taste. Maybe it needs a follow up Names hard to follow
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gave up on it, 19 Feb 2014
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Was looking for a book to put on my Kindle to read to my 10 year old son, gave up after he showed a lack of interest in the story strand involving Iceland and Greenland. Also, the remaining strand set in the native american village started having age sensitive subjects
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wolfgang, 10 Feb 2014
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good read got right in to story plot well worked out and very go value will look at other books by same author
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3.0 out of 5 stars A slow start but worth reading to the end, 7 Aug 2013
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This book started off really slow. To the point where I was seriously considering abandoning it to another book. However I stuck by it and credit where it is due the story came together nicely. The characters were good and fact merged with fiction to provide an altogether a decent story.

The book had three main plots going on at the same time; Wolfgar stranded in the newly discovered Canada, his son Ragnar's struggle after being captured by Danish Pirates and King Olaf of Norway. Sometimes the separate stories would drag on at times - especially Wolfgar's - but the way they all came together was written well.

The grammar wasn't very good at times and the layout on Kindle needed adjusting. However I would recommend reading this boo to someone else.
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3.0 out of 5 stars North America, Greenland or Norway?, 5 Aug 2013
Well written but I struggled with the main thread of the book - was it North America, Greenland or Norway. as the central character I would've expected the Wolfgar arena to be more to the fore.
That said good character and at times an excellent narrative.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I'm a sucker for Vikings, 27 Dec 2012
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let me get that out there so you know I'm somewhat biased. Saying that, this is a good Viking book. Nice story, well written, leads you through a good visual landscape with words.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcontinental and firstclass Vikings-novel, 23 Dec 2006
"If it takes a thousand years, or even ten thousand, Odin will regain his place of Glory."

(Ragnar Wolfgarsson)

Erik Thorvaldsson, called "the Red" returns after threes years of banishing to Iceland, in order to enlist settlers for his colony. In the year 985 he startet to sail with a fleet of 25. But only 14 ships should arrive at Greenland. On board of the lost ships were 350 men, women and children....

From the historical facts around the missing persons and other nameless men from Iceland, which already put their feet on "America", years before Leif Erikson, James Richard Larson develops a fantastic, quite conclusive story about his protagonist "Wulfgar". After the nordic seer and Priest has stranded with his ship "Raven", he and its people find friendly admission within the tribe of the Leni Lenape. But the "Swanukken" (algokin: Seawater people) are not equally welcomed to each of the "Skraelings" (oldnordic: "Weak men")....

....after years of waiting Wolfgars wife Katrine finally marries Bjarni Herjulfsson, which (after the Greenland Saga) is considered as a discoverer of "America", but who didn't set his feet on the continent and was therefore called "the Cautious". Ragnar Wulfgarsson is convinced of the fact, that his father is still alive and goes on board the "Sleipnir", Leif Erikssons longship....

....as it's third story the novel offers some of the delivered narrations around the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason ("Crowleg"), who in Larsons version grows up after his escape with his mother Astrid at the court of the Russian ruler Vladimir I. (Swjatoslawitsch) and finally returns after numerous adventures in Pommern, Southengland and Ireland to land of his royal ancestors.

Gradually the author leads the different stories, which stretches from North America to Russia, together, alt last in a fulminant final in the middle of the 990-decade. Beside already known persons from "The Eye Of Odin", with the more exciting sequal the reader makes the acquaintance with further strong characters. Very impressing is the intercultural meeting between Vikings and Indians, particularly the spiritual and ritual exchange between "Wolfgar" an his shaman-colleague "Silent Owl". The discriptions of the (in later times called) Delawares with their "Walum Olum" and their enemies, the "Susquehannocks", who called them "Barkeaters" are arousing associations to the novels of James Fenimor Cooper. Also this time Larson's second epos neither misses the typical black humor of it's genre or the question about religious tolerance. A central topic are the political considerations and methods that came along with bringing Christianity to the last heaths of Northern Europe, which often only offered the choice between "baptism or sword".

With "Wulfgar" Larson delivers again a fantastic Vikingsaga and historical novel, that in it's epic style of narration and it's historical content, stands in one line with such novels of James A. Michener or Gary Jennings. The new "high priest of the Asen" from Wisconsin proves, that also his second book belongs to the first class of the Vikingsnovels. Evaluated with 5 Amazonstars, in addition it also let's expect the already announced sequal "Vikings of The East" with impatience.
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Wolfgar: The Story of a Viking
Wolfgar: The Story of a Viking by James Richard Larson (Hardcover - 8 Aug 2006)
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