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War of the Gods Hardcover – October, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312863152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312863159
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,182,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Veteran pro Anderson (The Fleet of Stars, p. 26, etc.) offers a Dark Age saga based on Old Scandinavian mythology and the exploits of the legendary Danish King Hadding (cf. Bernard King's Starkadder, 1989). Following a disastrous war of the gods between the Aesir and the Vanir, the Vanir Njord becomes an implacable foe of the Aesir and their chief, Odin. So Odin arranges for Njord's avatar to be born in the world of men as Hadding, son of King Gram Skjoldung of Denmark. To ensure his safety, young Hadding is sent to live with a family of jotuns, or giants. Meanwhile, Svipdag, King of Geatland and Svithjod (Sweden), invades Denmark and kills Gram. Later, helped by a disguised Odin, Hadding overcomes Svipdag, but the latter's son Uffi retains control of Geatland and Svithjod, and the blood feud between them drags on for years. Eventually, after many further adventures, Hadding will relinquish his kingdom to his hotheaded children and give himself to Odin, thereby ending the dispute among the gods. Anderson writes in a modern Anglo- Saxon, full of words that long ago vanished from English; and if readers are sent scurrying to consult dictionaries and encyclopedias--so much the better. A brilliantly accomplished yarn that smolders bravely without quite catching fire. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

"One of science fiction's most revered writers."--USA Today

"An action-packed fantasy extravaganza."--Science Fiction Chronicle

"One of the field's greatest writers....War of the Gods is one of a number of Anderson's works that will stand the test of time."--Orlando Sun-Sentinel
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Mirsky on February 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The text begins interestingly enough, albeit somewhat ponderously, as Poul Anderson, one of the greats of Science Fiction & Fantasy, essays once more to travel the mist-shrouded roads of Faery. Writing at least since the fifties (I enjoyed his stuff going back to the sixties), Anderson's "voice" seems to have mellowed and subtly altered with the passing of the years. Never one of the most moving or most profound of tale spinners, he was always, nevertheless, the consummate storyteller. Still this present tale lacks the energy and vitality of his earlier saga-like excursions. While The Broken Sword leaped with life and blood and darkness and Hrolf Kraki's Saga (basically a translation of a legendary Danish-Norse tale, with some additions by the author to make it more contemporary) charged onward from episode to episode until crashing mightily on the rocks of it's own climactic shore, this new tale seems oddly stilted and self-conscious. The language does not pour forth, carrying the reader over the unsure ground of fantasy, as Anderson was wont to do in former days, and the characters he has given us here seem paler than in the past -- and not nearly as interesting as their predecessors were. The protagonist, Hadding the Dane-King, for instance, moves sluggishly from one odd episode to another, always winning his battles and defeating his foes, never seeming to be in any serious danger at all, a circumstance which ultimately seems to tell on him as much as it does on us. And the people around him, as well as his enemies, never seem to be quite worthy of the attention he lavishes on them.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew J. Sydlik on November 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Apparently, Poul Anderson is a prolific sci-fi and fantasy writer, and has been writing for a long time, too. I haven't read anything else of his, but based on this book, I am considering picking something else of his up. This wasn't one of the greatest books I've ever read, but it held my interest because of its use of Norse mythology and the supernatural. The narrative starts out relating the strife between Odin's Aesir and the Vanir, threatening to separate the gods forever, and perhaps have cataclysmic effects on the whole universe. It then focuses on Hadding for the rest of the book, who struggles to establish a stable kingdom, facing dangers both earthly and otherworldly. His role in bringing peace to the war between the gods may not be clear until the end, unless you're a lot more cunning than me. Following the interrelationships between the characters and geographies sometimes became a daunting task and confuses the narrative, but once I got past those things, the story became very engrossing. I'm not usually into fantasy, but I'm not sure this is entirely fantasy - its pseudo-historical/myth/fantasy/horror. The supernatural and pseudo-historic elements (some of which Anderson admits are inaccurate in a brief Afterword) don't really get in the way, though at times, as I said, the focus on detailed interrelationships and geographies can be a problem. The characterization is also a little weak; although there is some, I don't feel any of the characters were very fully developed, not even Hadding. There are flashes of some of the characters that reveal something profound about their personalities, but ultimately the narrative isn't very character-driven. Instead, the emphasis is more on describing action-packed battle scenes and the history of the characters and land.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barry J McKnight on November 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While not on the level with Anderson's Hrolf Kraki's Saga, I still found this novel enjoyable. It successfully evokes the same mood as many of the Icelandic sagas...dark, melancholy, its meaning murky. There is not too much available these days in Viking fiction. If you are a fan of the genre, read it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fred Camfield on March 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel is a fictional account of the legendary Danish King Hadding and others, based on information from ancient sagas, themselves a combination of fact and fiction. It is difficult to set an exact time period for the story. Names like Frode were common in the Fourth century.
In trying to make the tale sound like sagas, the author has used a writing style that is somewhat archaic and filled with words and terms not familiar to the average reader, particularly in the first part of the book. Also, Chapter 1 should have been a prologue. Periodically in the tale, people pause to give long poetic speeches. The latter part of the story steps back in time to set the scene with Hadding's daughter, and the timeline becomes somewhat tangled. Giants and gods drift in and out of the story at various points. The novel could have been aided by both a map (for readers unfamiliar with the area) and a glossary defining various words and terms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bordeaux Dogue on April 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interestingly told in a way that meets the requirements of modern day readers, yet maintaining the Ancient Saga undertones. It is not as good a book as the Broken Sword ot Hrolf Kraki's Saga, but is, undeniably, a book worth reading and keeping, if you appreciate the Nordic ancient history and mythology which is as rich as many others much more divulged and spoken about.
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