This isn't the best modern pastiche of the Viking saga style that I've read (that would be Frans Gunnar Bengtsson's The Long Ships), but it's a very, very good one. Haggard could certainly write exciting, visceral action scenes, and he knew how to create compelling heroes, villains and situations that draw one into a story. That was certainly how I felt, and when I find myself editing an author's work and thinking of ways in which it could have been done better as I'm reading it, that usually isn't a good sign.
In this case, we have a viking story modeled very consciously on the old Icelandic sagas ASIDE: I hadn't really realized how much of a presence the vikings had in Iceland, nor that so many of the big stories we know are actually from there, not from up in Scandinavia.
I really enjoyed this book - the adventures of Eric Brighteyes is the story of a brave and honest man who is marked by fate for misfortune - even as he becomes a legend.
It was my first time getting a taste of an Icelandic saga, although I guess its important to mention that H.R. Haggard was not himself Icelandic, but English. On the surface this is an epic Viking novel, but at its heart its a tragic love triangle, and a fight between good and evil. I enjoyed the adventure, the mythology, the magic and superstition, but boy was it frustrating to follow the path these characters were going down. Also worth mentioning - there are a lot of thees and thous." If youve read the KJV Bible this shouldnt be an issue, but might take some getting used to otherwise.
Her initial plan fails, of course, and the follow-on plans do as well, in stages that reveal greater desperation, disregard for society, and outright insanity of purpose.
Every element of the book is a gem: the cast of characters, the depictions of battles on land and sea, the subtle use of witchery.
Fine pastiche of Icelandic sagas May 29, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Eric Brighteyes by Henry Rider Haggard First published in 1890 Review of the free Kindle edition A Public Domain Book Publication date: May 17, 2012 Language: English ASIN: B0084AXXB6 This novel is not a saga or even based upon a particular saga. Henry Rider Haggard was known for his romances and adventure novels. Despite erroneous assertions made elsewhere, Haggard did not dedicate this book to Queen Victoria.
Despite the ending being revealed already in the beginning of the book with a prophecy, yet the way these characters struggle against their destinies is easy to relate to.
H Rider Haggard -- best known for his adventure tales set in Africa, like "King Solomon's Mines" and "She" -- wrote one of, if not the first, modern English sagas in the Icelandic model. (William Morris' "House of the Wolfings" was published at about the same time, from what I've read so far it also models itself on the Icelandic saga.) Haggard wrote this shortly after a visit to Iceland, and he did his best to incorporate the best of the sagas -- poetic descriptions of landscapes, seascapes, and battle, clever word-play and dialogue, and above all the muscular paganism of the Viking world -- while leaving out the most tedious part (long catalogs of lineages and digressions about minor characters).
Let me admit at the start that I've been on an Old Norse and Anglo Saxon kick lately. If you are interested in Vikings and Anglo Saxons, but find Beowulf hard to read, then you will enjoy this book. As any good Old Norse poem should, this story ends in bloody but heroic tragedy.
Sir Henry Rider Haggard, KBE was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and the creator of the Lost World literary genre.