This book contains the ancient tales inspired by the historical figures of Ragnar Lodbrok, his sons, wives, and enemies. Presented here are new and original translations of the three major Old Norse texts: The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons, and The Sögubrot. Ragnar’s death song, the “Krákumál,” completes the volume.
If you like your poetry old and epic, then look no further! If you have a fascination with old Viking lore, then this will probably be of interest. I really enjoyed this visit to the source material for so many stories based on Ragnar Lodbrok’s life.
Ragnar’s wives played a larger role in the sagas than I expected. Of course, each one brought some mythic element to the story in her own right. His first wife was a shieldmaiden – a Viking warrior. His second was of a great warrior lineage but had been lost as a child and raised as a servant. She did have her own witchy powers though. His third was also of noble birth and sometimes saw things clearer than Ragnar himself.
The sagas take us through Ragnar’s entire life, including his sad death. Or, at least, I thought it was a sad way for a Viking warrior to go. Then we continue the adventure through his sons, who had conquests of note. Indeed, it was very interesting to see what the Vikings found terrifying and honorable hen fighting among themselves. Battle cow, anyone? Yes, indeed, there is a battle cow!
The description of this book says that extensive notes and commentary are provided. Honestly, I did not notice much notes and commentary at all. There were a few places where the author made note of missing text. The book simply launches into the sagas without giving a foreword, or an afterword for that matter, placing these works in historical perspective. Indeed, I would have enjoyed having some commentary or historical notes.
I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher via Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).
Narration: Ray Chase was a good pick for this book. He has a steady voice and made it sound like we were enjoying a fireside telling of the old tales. There are several Viking names and he didn’t stumble over a single one.