The last kingdomThere’s a new series on TV  about the Vikings, written and created  by Michael Hirst, who brought us the Tudors. The series (History Channel Tuesday nights 10pm) is inspired by the tales of the raiding, trading, and exploring Norsemen of early medieval Scandinavia. Based on sagas about the viking Ragnar Lothbrok, a mythological Danish hero and notorious as the scourge of England and France, it portrays Ragnar as a former farmer who rises to fame by successful raids into England with the support of his family and fellow warriors. If you would like to read some Viking fiction, here are some suggestions

Cornwell, Bernard – The Last Kingdom The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories From the best selling author of Sharpe, a series of novels about 9thC Britain. The Last Kingdom starts off the series, with seven others still to read if you love the first one : The Pale Horseman (2005), The Lords of the North (2006), Sword Song (2007), The Burning Land (2009), Death of Kings (2011), The Pagan Lord (2013), The Empty Throne (2014)

Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of 9th century Northumbria. Orphaned at ten, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred’s fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault.

Kristian, Giles – Blood Eye: Raven series

This series is about about a young man’s coming of age amongst a band of Viking warriors. As well as Raven: Blood Eye, there’s Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For two years Osric has lived a simple life, apprentice to the mute old carpenter who took him. But when Norsemen from across the sea burn his village they also destroy his new life. Their chief believes the Norns have woven this strange boys fate together with his own, and Osric senses glorious purpose among this fellowship of warriors

Low, Robert – Crowbone 

979 AD. A man lies dying with a message he cannot take to his grave, a secret that must be passed on only to Olaf Tryggvasson, true prince of Norway, also known as Crowbone. When the message finally arrives, so begins a quest to discover its meaning, and for Crowbone to gain what is rightfully his: the crown of Norway

Coates, Berwick -The Last Viking

With the death of Edward the Confessor, the crown of England is hanging in the balance. And in the north Harald Hadrada, the Norwegian Viking leader, is determined to take his chance of capturing the country. But Harold will not let that happen without a fight. Charismatic and the leader of a mighty army, he is determined to make Hadrada the last Viking in England. And so the bloodiest battle yet fought on English soil is about to begin. At stake is sovereignty, freedom and honour

Hill, Justin – Shieldwall 

The year is 1016 and England burns while the Viking armies blockade the great city of Lundenburh. King Ethelred lies dying and the England he knew dies with him; the warring kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex and Northymbria tremble on the brink of great change

Severin, Tim – Odinn’s Child

Set in an ancient Viking world full of brooding Norse mythology and bloodthirsty battles, this is the first volume in an epic historical fiction trilogy. Others in series are Sworn Brother and King’s Man