The Hammer and the Cross

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The Hammer and the Cross is a science fiction novel by Harry Harrison and John Holm, a pseudonym for the Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey. The first in a trilogy, the book chronicles the rise of Shef, a bastard son of a Viking and an English lady. The book is alternative history set in 9th century England, where Viking raids are common. In this tale, the authors explore what might have happened if the Vikings had fought more successfully against the rule of Chalcedonian Christianity. Central to this story is the protagonist Shef. In the story, Shef's birth is discussed. Is Shef the son of the Norse god Ríg, or of a Viking named Sigvarth? More widely, the story questions whether the gods are real or just dreams. These questions are developed through the trilogy.
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series: The Hammer and the Cross
original title: The Hammer and the Cross
date of publication: 1993
genre: novel, fantasy literature, science fiction novel
narrative location: Great Britain
followed by: One King's Way

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