The Long Ships

The Long Ships tells the life story of Orm Tostesson, also called Red Orm, and his adventures as a viking around the year 1000 AD.  Taken captive from his home in Scania (present-day Sweden) at the age of sixteen, Orm spends his youth as a crew member on a long ship, a slave on a Spanish ship, and a bodyguard for the Caliph of Córdoba.  His subsequent voyages take him to Ireland, England, and into what is now Russia.

"The year ended without the smallest sign having appeared in the sky, and there ensued a period of calm in the border country.  Relations with the Smalanders continued to be peaceful, and there were no local incidents worth mentioning, apart from the usual murders at feasts and weddings, and a few men burned in their houses as a result of neighborly disputes."

Frans G. Bengtsson (1894-1954) was Swedish author.  His works include poetry and essay collections, a biography of Charles XII of Sweden, and The Long Ships, which was originally published in two separate installments.

Published:  1954
Length:  498 pages
Main Setting:  Sweden
Secondary Settings:  Ireland, Spain, Russia, England
Translated by:  Michael Meyer