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Eric Brighteyes

A book by H. Rider Haggard

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A wonderful viking adventure!

  • Aug 4, 2000
The author of numerous romance-adventures in the 19th century tradition, Haggard turned his hand, at least once, to the older saga tradition of the northern peoples. The result may well have been his best work. Skillfully crafted, this tale proceeds at breakneck pace to unfold the saga-like adventures of the stout Icelandic yeoman, Eric Thorgrimurs' son (surnamed 'Brighteyes' for his most notable trait), as he struggles to win the hand of his beloved, Gudruda the Fair, despite the vigorous opposition of her half-sister, Swanhild the Fatherless (who seeks Eric for her own). Caught between these two beautiful women and faced with the need to overcome the opposition of Gudruda's father, Asmund the Priest (not the Christian sort) and his son, the greedy Bjorn (who would prefer to marry his sister off to a wealthy chieftain in lieu of a liaison with the farmer's son Eric), our hero must prove himself worthy of his destined bride while dodging the snares of those who would unman him. Conspiring with her mysterious mother, Groa the witchwife, Swanhild arranges to have Ospakar Blacktooth, a northern chieftain from Swinefells, pay Asmund's household a visit in order to see and woo Gudruda for himself. This Ospakar and Eric become immediate foes for Ospakar is as ugly and vile as Eric is handsome and honorable. And the tale only accelerates from here. From death-defying feats of derring-do to duels between deadly foemen to treachery and mayhem in blinding blizzards and on the high seas, this is an adventure which, once having grabbed you, will not let you go. Written in an archaic prose, mirroring the old nineteenth century translations of the original Icelandic sagas, and intended to simulate the voice of the old sagas themselves, the power of this narrative is compelling and unrelenting. And yet it is less exhausting than exhilirating as it unfolds the tale of Eric and the two women who loved him -- no matter what the cost. If the tale has a flaw at all it is that the characters are not real in any sense of that word but only larger-than-life actors who strut about upon the stage which Haggard has drawn for us here. At the same time the sensibility offered is one of pure and unmitigated adventure. But it's great fun and marvelous escapist fare. A must for lovers of Norse and viking times.

The King of Vinland's Saga

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About the reviewer
Stuart W. Mirsky ()
Ranked #230
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER VI. HOW ASMUND THE PRIEST WAS BETROTHED TO UNNA. For a moment there was silence, for all that company was wonderstruck at the greatness of the deed. Then they cheered and cheered again, and to Eric it seemed that he slept, and the sound of shouting reached him but faintly, as though he heard through snow. Suddenly he woke and saw a man rush at him with axe aloft. It was Mord, Ospakar's son, mad at his father's overthrow. Eric sprang aside, or the blow had been his bane, and, as he sprang, smote with his fist, and it struck heavily on the head of Mord above the ear, so that the axe flew from his hand, and he fell senseless on his father in the snow. Now swords flashed out, and men ringed round Eric to guard him, and it came near to the spilling of blood, for the people of Ospakar gnashed their teeth to see so great a hero overthrown by a youngling, while the southern folk of Middalhof and Ran River rejoiced loudly, for Eric was dear to their hearts. "Down swords," cried Asmund the Priest, "and haul yon carcass from the snow." This then they did, and Ospakar sat up, breathing in great gasps, the blood running from his mouth and ears, and he was an evil sight to see, for what with blood and snow and rage his face was like the face of the Swinefell Goblin. But Swanhild spoke in the ear of ...
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ISBN-10: 1587150263
ISBN-13: 978-1587150265
Author: H. Rider Haggard
Publisher: Borgo Press

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