Sunday 2 January 2022

Book Review: The Saga of the Jómsvíkings by Lee M. Hollander (translator) (Folklore & Myth)

Title: The Saga of the Jómsvíkings
Author: Lee M. Hollander (translator)
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: 1988 (1200)
Format: Paperback
Genre: Folklore & Myth
Source: Birthday Gift

In A.D. 986, Earl Hâkon, ruler of most of Norway, won a triumphant victory over an invading fleet of Danes in the great naval battle of Hjôrunga Bay. Sailing under his banner were no fewer than five Icelandic skalds, the poet-historians of the Old Norse world. Two centuries later their accounts of the battle became the basis for one of the liveliest of the Icelandic sagas, with special emphasis on the doings of the Jômsvikings, the famed members of a warrior community that feared no one and dared all.In Lee M. Hollander's faithful translation, all of the unknown twelfth-century author's narrative genius and flair for dramatic situation and pungent characterization is preserved.


The Saga of the Jómsvíkings was a fun, quick read. I appreciated the introduction, which helped establish fact versus fiction in the tale, and the translation read smoothly and coherently. This is the first saga I have read in a while, and I enjoyed getting back into that storytelling style again. As a short and easy read, this book might be a good place to start if you are interested in reading a saga but are worried about following everything, as the action and family relationships are fairly straightforward; however, some of the more fantastical pieces are more fun overall. In the end, I would give this book four stars.

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