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4.3 out of 5 stars106
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 29 September 2015
Though I have been a prolific reader all of my life, I didn't embark on my reviewing career(?) until early in 2013. At that point I discovered, through some new author friends I made on social media, the wonders and benefits of sites such as WordPress and Goodreads. It was while setting up my to be read list on Goodreads that I added The Norseman by Jason Born, it being my intention to get to this pretty quick as I was hungry for some good Viking stories. Alas, my to be read list kept growing, I kept reading and reviewing trying to whittle it down but my reviews caught the eyes of some more authors who then started requesting that I read and review their labors of love. I succumbed to their wishes, lured on by the promise of autographed copies. Yes, dear readers, your humble scribe was guilty of the sins of greed and pride. However, I have repented and have resolved to make a dent in that to be read list so let this review be a testament to that fact.

This tale starts the story of Halldorr, a Norseman who along with some historical figures, such as Erik the Red, Leif Ericsson and a host of Scandinavian kings, Olaf Tryggvason, Sweyn Forkbeard and Haakon, fill the pages with relentless action and drama. Halldorr is an old man recounting his life from his youth on Greenland, to his exile and the subsequent travels and adventures that mold him into a feared and respected warrior in the service of Olaf. As well as the expected ferocity and violent action, the author has also portrayed the more human aspects of life, love, hate, sorrow and joy intermingled with the harshness of survival in northern Europe in the 11th century. The narrative certainly grabbed my attention from the beginning but then the Battle of Maldon happened. As stated earlier, I read a lot of historical fiction and as such I read a lot of battle scenes. While there are scenes of violence and fighting prior to Maldon, it is that battle that thrust the author into the rarified air of being compared to some of my favorite battle authors, Ben Kane, Simon Turney, Gordon Doherty, to name but a few. Mr. Born evokes not only the visceral sights but enables the reader to feel the sword and axe strokes, to smell the gruesome by products of the violence, to enter into the minds of the combatants; in short, the author puts you in the action, makes you part of the shield wall. All told, this tale is a fine example of good research coupled with imaginative creativity and I will certainly pursue the rest of this series. Ironic isn't it? I'm whittling down my to be read list but now that I have found Jason Born to be to my liking, I now have to add his books to the pile. :-) 5 stars
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2013
I really enjoyed reading this novel, It is entertaining and I was really interested in seeing what happend the Halldorr. So much so, that I purchased books 2 & 3 as I started the last chapter of book 1. In all the Norsman Chronicles are well worth the Kindle price, and would be keen the read other novels along the same lines by Jason Born.
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on 29 June 2013
When I began reading this book I was in two minds to continue after the first few paragraphs as I normally have a dislike of reading stories in the first tense. However I persevered and am grateful as this is a cracking story. The main character is Halldor a Norse Viking who was exiled from his home in Greenland by Erik the Red for a crime he didn't commit . Hardly a new concept in story telling, but blended in nicely with historical fact afterwards when he met King Olaf of Norway. Although his actions of raiding villages doesn't make him a delightful character (but hey, it is the 1000's after all) the writer does enough to convince me to like him never the less with his quest for a peaceful life which never comes around.

An enjoyable read and was enough to convince me to read the other two books that followed!
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on 10 January 2014
A good read and would have scored higher if I had not just read Robert Low's Oathsworn series of books which are set along the same time span and also features the rise of Olaf Tryggvason to the throne of Viking age Norway. Low's books are somewhat a lot darker, gritty and doom filled which suits the Pagan view of both life and the afterlife of the time, saying that Born writes a very believable tale in his interpretation of the early history of Norway and also makes good use of the Norse Sagas throughout but his battle scenes lack the descriptive feel that you the reader are in the shieldwall along with the main characters. My criticism on reading this back does strike me as a bit unfair if honest because overall I enjoyed this book.
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on 7 January 2014
There are three books in this ‘saga’ (The Norseman Chronicles) - The Norseman, Paths of the Norseman and Norseman Chief. They chart the life and loves of the hero - Halldorr who is nearly 100 when he writes his story (I hate it when authors do that). That said, they are well written and researched giving vivid detail of life in these times and locations (no detail so no spoiler) and the battles that are spread through the series. However there is just enough for 3 books, rather one really good one so I have done the same review for all. Unfortunately for me I'm a bit OCD about finishing books so I will get there, in the end.
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on 29 December 2013
A "Viking Saga" with plenty of action but missing the detailed descriptions of epic battles that feature in Bernard Cornwell novels that this somewhat mirrors. Nevertheless this is a gripping tale, well told, that moves at a good pace to ensure that the reader's attention is fully maintained. The hero and other main characters are quite well drawn out as the story proceeds but never really reach any great depth although they are believable enough to maintain interest in their fate. The battle between Christianity and the "Old Gods" could have been better developed and never really achieves the right level of intensity.
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on 1 February 2014
The author appears to have researched locations and had a framework of characters along with a plot to link these locations, but that the writing was lightweight. Hence two stars.

I never felt engaged with the characters or the period as the book never made more than cursory attempts to describe these, but seemed more intent in trying to move the plot forward. As for the locations, I am not sure the author has every been to the Norway or Greenland as the quality of the scene setting was noticeable by its absence...
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on 13 October 2013
This book really grabbed and held my interest in fact I am nearly finished the third in the series. I didn't want to stop reading the series long enough to write a review but it seemed unfair so I have made myself.
I was particularly pleased as I had just forced myself to finish "The Kings of the North Way" which is more like a fairy story and I struggled with the concept so this book and the two after have cheered me up no end.
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on 13 July 2013
A great account of the period through the eyes of a warrior. Some terrific adventures with all the gore of the times, coupled with more tender moments. Loved the idea of them being told as the recollections of an old man. Some of the names were so similar that I occasionally got lost, but didn't detract from the overall enjoyment. Couldn't wait to get the next in the series - these must be read in order to make any sense.
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on 17 January 2015
Storyline is good and well researched but I found the writing style a bit odd with too many short sentences. Since I am not American I also found the nuances out of place, describing medieval distances as "a few blocks" and the constant use of the word "ass" jarred against my visual image of a Norse saga.
However the characters are involving and the writing improves (for me) in the subsequent novels.
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