“The Last Viking: The True Story of King Harald Hardrada” by Don Hollway.
Drawing on original source material, Don Hollway recreates the violence and drama of the late Viking era in a gripping chronicle that transports the reader from the frozen wastelands of Scandinavia to the glittering opulence of the Byzantine empire and then finally to a muddy field of rural England.
King Harald III (called Hardrada, or “Hard Ruler”) of Norway was a real-life fantasy hero who burst into history as a teenaged youth in a Viking battle, from which he escaped with little more than his life and a thirst for vengeance.
Journey with him across the medieval world, from the frozen barrens of the North to the glittering towers of Byzantium and the passions of the Holy Land. He’ll fight for and against Christian, Muslim and pagan rulers.
He’ll bed handmaids, a princess and an empress alike, writing poetry and amassing a fortune along the way, before returning home to claim his love, his crown and his destiny, ultimately dying like a Viking: in battle, laughing, with sword in hand.
The Last Viking is a fast-moving narrative that reads like a novel, combining Norse sagas, Byzantine accounts, Anglo Saxon chronicles, and even King Harald’s own verse and prose, into a single, compelling story. While pointing out errors and contradictions in the ancient stories for the sake of accuracy Don Hollway brings the true tale of this hero to life.