The Long Ships


The Long Ships or Red Orm (original Swedish: Röde Orm meaning Red Serpent or Red Snake) is an adventure novel by the Swedish writer Frans G. Bengtsson. The narrative is set in the late 10th century and follows the adventures of the Viking Röde Orm - called "Red" for his hair and his temper, a native of Scania. The book portrays the political situation of Europe in the later Viking Age, Andalusia under Almansur, Denmark under Harald Bluetooth, followed by the struggle between Eric the Victorious and Sven Forkbeard, Ireland under Brian Boru, England under Ethelred the Unready, and the Battle of Maldon, and then the Byzantine Empire and its Varangian Guard, Kievan Rus and its neighbors the Patzinaks - all before the backdrop of the gradual Christianization of Scandinavia, contrasting the pragmatic Norse pagan outlook with the exclusiveness of Islam and Christianity.The novel is divided into two parts, published in 1941 and 1945, with two books each. It used to be one of the most widely read books in Sweden. The first part was translated into English by Barrows Mussey as Red Orm in 1943, but later editions and newer translations by Michael Meyer use the title The Long Ships. The book has been translated into at least 23 languages.
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original title: Röde Orm
language: Swedish
date of publication: 1941
genre: adventure novel


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