Friday, July 31, 2009

Hrolf Kraki in the Guardian

As a longtime proponent of Poul Anderson's Hrolf Kraki's Saga, I was pleased today to see a review of this fine but mostly forgotten novel over at the online version of the British newspaper The Guardian, Cracking Poul Anderson's Kraki. The Guardian's Alison Flood is working her way through some of the fantasy genre's classics, including former British Fantasy award winners, which Anderson claimed in 1974 with Hrolf Kraki.

I don't agree with some of Flood's criticisms of the novel, including her disdain for Anderson's mythic language and poetry (which I think is part of the novel's unique charm and appeal, as well as a reflection of Anderson's faithfulness to the source material, the fragmentary Hrolf Kraki Saga and other ancient Icelandic sagas). But it's nice to see this mythic tale of a brief, shining period of peace in dark ages Denmark get some public recognition.

4 comments:

David J. West said...

Decent review by alison, but I tend to agree with you about the language making it something special.

And I especially agree with you and others that commented about The Broken Sword being his best.

I first picked that up because of KEW mentioning it and Skoal! That was good stuff. Blows the doors off 99% of anything else out there after what? Coming up on sixty years I think.

Atom Kid said...

Hrolf Kraki is one of my favorites! It's got everthing a Norse tale should have.

Have you checked out Anderson's other viking stories. I know he has a trilogy, but I've only found the second book. I'm still holding out on the other two.

Pericles said...

I'm glad Atom Kid mentioned the Harald Hardrada trilogy. You don't hear that much about it, but I thought those books were some of the best novels Anderson ever wrote. As far as I know, they've been out of print since the early 80's. That doesn't seem right.

Brian Murphy said...

David: Yes, I think if someday I were to come up with my "top 10 fantasy novels of all time" list, The Broken Sword would likely be on it.

Atom Kid/Pericles: I have book 1 of the series to which you're referring: It's called The Last Viking, and book 1 is The Golden Horn. I've never read it, because I don't have parts 2 and 3 and I'm not keen on starting series in which later books are not readily available.

For the record, part 2 of the trilogy is called The Road of the Sea Horse, and part 3 is The Sign of the Raven.

Atom Kid and I have 2/3 of The Last Viking, does anyone have book 3? We could do a mail swap or a round-table reading group :)!