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Swords of Good Men (The Valhalla Saga) Hardcover – January 7, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: The Valhalla Saga (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1623650747
  • ISBN-13: 978-1623650742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I'm impressed!... Overall, Swords of Good Men is an excellent foray into historical Scandinavian fiction... and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Vikings, ancient battles, or religious conflicts. I definitely will look forward to later installments in The Valhalla Saga to continue the story."—Fanboy Comics

"[It] promises to be a powerful epic fantasy series.... Kristjansson takes the reader along at a breakneck speed, and it doesn't let up until the final very end. And the ending, though satisfying, leaves the door open for yet more mayhem. I gladly recommend this book."—Historical Novel Society

"Swords of Good Men will be a book to watch if that's your genre of choice, as will the series."—Novelnaut.com

About the Author

Snorri Kristjansson is an Icelander, a writer and a teacher, with a background in acting, music and stand-up comedy. He lives in South London with his fiance. Swords of Good Men is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

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After reading through all of the names, it was difficult to find one that didn't catch my eye.
Patremagne @ 'A Bitter Draft' - Speculative Fiction reviews and things
All in all, this was a great book for someone who's as interested in fantasy as he's in history.
Mike A. Wants
I say this is average because there wasn't enough characters and what was going on was unclear.
prime

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patremagne @ 'A Bitter Draft' - Speculative Fiction reviews and things on August 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Jo Fletcher is a fairly new imprint for Quercus specializing in most of the speculative fiction genre. They started with a bang, and their list of authors includes some who've proven their mettle like Sarah Pinborough and Ian McDonald. They also have a slew of authors who have debuted within the last few years with success, like Aidan Harte, Mazarkis Williams, Tom Pollock, and David Hair. This year includes promising debut Snorri Kristjansson with Swords of Good Men, the first in the Valhalla Saga. After I'd found myself the victor of a giveaway for Aidan Harte's Irenicon back in July, I decided to browse their catalog for authors of interest. After reading through all of the names, it was difficult to find one that didn't catch my eye. I ended up requesting the one that stood out the most, and since I can't resist a good Norse tale, they obliged and sent me Swords of Good Men.

After reading the first few chapters, I began to see that Kristjansson's writing was very similar to Nathan Hawke's and David Gemmell's - there is no fluff. He tells the story how it is, without flattery and overbearing detail. But, more like Hawke than Gemmell, Kristjansson writes the violence with gory detail, making the action very fun to read - the kind of stuff you'd see on History's new show, Vikings. Taking place in Norway, Swords of Good Men is much more historical fiction than it is fantasy, with the aspect of magic not appearing until the very end for the most part and in a supernatural way.

Swords begins with Ulfar Thormodsson and his cousin Geiri on their way to Stenvik, the last stop on a journey throughout the world before they can return home. Despite Kristjansson's focus on the action rather than the world, he paints a very vivid picture of a Norse town in Stenvik.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As many others, I have read a number of “Viking Stories” written by quite a few authors: the “genre” is getting somewhat crowded. I liked most of them, although some were arguably better than others. I was a bit concerned that this one would be in the same vein as most of the others, and therefore hardly original. This is why I somewhat hesitated before buying and reading it.

It seems I was largely wrong. The action takes place in Norway, in and around the fortified town of Stenvik, held by Sigurd, an ageing warlord, as two Viking armies close on it, each intending to secure it for its own. After two years travelling as envoys across Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea, the young and handsome Ulfar (our hero) and his cousin had ended up in this town, the last before they return home. It will, of course, not be so easy, and our hero will get fully caught up in the coming battle, with lots of blood, gore and fighting. So far, so good and there is nothing really exceptional here. Similar episodes of ferocious and grim fighting can be found in other books from other authors, even if the ones in this book are rather well done and essentially take the form of siege with numerous assaults against Stenvik.

However, Snorri Kristjansson’s book does stand out in three respects. The first one is the historical context. It is about the forced unification of much of Norway under the cold, ruthless and fanatical Olaf Tryggvasson and his “White Christ” which took place in the last years of the 10th century. The young King, who appears quite frightening by his very calm, is depicted in a rather convincing way. His “Christianity” is a Norse and rather ruthless and bloodthirsty version of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Evilsizor on January 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Swords of Good Men is an outstanding debut for Snorri Kristjansson and the Valhalla Saga promises to be a great series. Snorri does a fantastic job keeping the Christian and Norse religious viewpoints even and balanced. The fight scenes are vivid and graphic in detail, and also are smooth in flow. By the end of Swords of Good Men, you might have a feeling like you just read a book from A Song of Ice and Fire.

Bottom line; do not pass up on this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson, the first book of The Valhalla Saga, is an interesting looks at Vikings in the fantasy genre. The book depicts the historical time frame and place accurately and will be a treat to anyone interested in both historical novels and fantasy. If you like Vikings, it goes without telling that this book should be on your to-read pile. And don't worry, the fantasy portion is small and doesn't take anything away from the realistic setting and characters.

The story revolves around Stenvik, a small town, and Ulfar Thormodsson, a young man on his way home after a two-year-long journey. The town becomes the center of a brewing conflict between the religion of the While Christ and the Old Gods. The first part of the book is an introduction into numerous Viewpoints, the two conflicting armies, and the people of Stenvik. All the while we read about the impending attack of a great host a legendary raiders and the advance of a mighty army under the banner of the While Christ, we learn more about a hand-picked cast of characters in Stenvik and seething conflicts between them. The men of Stenvik do not stand as one, but house schemers in their midst that might tip the careful balance of power in one or the other direction.

The long introduction serves one goal and does a good job at it: It enhances the tension. As the reader you know much more than the people of Stenvik through the use of multiple POV-characters. When you look the leader of the raiders, Skargrim, over the shoulder as he stands on top of a cliff and surveys his men, when you see him count his ships or spot more on the horizon, you will see the stakes rise ever higher.
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