The Hammer And The Cross
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The Hammer And The Cross (Hammer and the Cross #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  559 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In 865 A.D. Greedy, powerful bishops rule over the British Iles kings with fear and damnation. Vikings do not fear the priests and set out to increase man's knowledge and strength by conquest and craft in an all-out war.
Hardcover, 415 pages
Published September 1993 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1992)
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I began re-reading Harry Harrison't "The Hammer and the Cross" trilogy in November 2009 as inspiration for NaNoWriMo. It is set in an alternate-history England at the time of the invasion of the Viking "Great Army" in 865 C.E. The story is about a young man named Shef who ends up joining the Vikings and becoming a carl and then a jarl among the Vikings, defeating villains among their people, the English, and even Frankish knights sent to recover the country for Christendom. There are significan...more
This whole trilogy is excellent. I have reread so many times the book fell apart. Definitely one of the best alternate histories I've ever read. I don't agree with some of the reviewers: I don't believe you need a wonderful knowledge of history to enjoy it (because I didn't; I recognized the Battle of Hastings & was tickled and that was it), just enough to know that this is an alternate version. I also don't believe this is a "book for men". Wth. No such thing. It's adventure, and not quite...more
Christine Bowles
This was an interesting book to read and I do look forward to picking up the next two in the series. However, I must confess that I do not know mch about the real history told hete, so I was unable to pick up the differences, but this is a history that I will be looking more into now that it has been brought to my attention. Harrison is a great writer, I enjoyed his style and storytelling skills. I forsee many more of his books in my future.
Sabrina Spiher
Sep 08, 2007 Sabrina Spiher rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: boys.
"This is a book for men.

I'm not much of a feminist critic, and I'm not going to accuse Harry Harrison of misogyny. In fact, I might be betraying myself as a gender essentialist. But whatever. This is a book for men ..."

Read the rest of my review here:

Jason R Richter
Probably one of my top five all time favorites. I read it again and again and every time I think, "I should have been a blacksmith."
I had a hard time choosing between 3 & 4 stars. I went ahead & settled on 3 because I think it's a good book & well written, just not my favorite. I probably would have liked it a lot more if I knew English & Viking history as well as having knowledge of Norse mythology. Another problem was I didn't really know where the character was going..what his goals were, what was driving him...for most of the book.

This is an alternate-history store where the Vikings & their gods are...more
Chris Branch
One of the most intriguing examples I've read of the classic story in which the lowly protagonist survives against all odds and rises to the pinnacle of power by use of his wits and his unique talents. It draws upon the real history of the Viking expansion into the British isles, and where it may depart from historical accuracy, it nevertheless rings true, with a depth that suggests meticulous research.

This is a raw and gritty saga, heavy on the pillaging, killing and torture that took place du...more
Michael Hall
An excellent alternate history tale in which the Vikings are the heroes that free Europe from the tyranny of the Church. Yeah, it's not truly historically accurate in many places, but that's why it's fiction! This story is great! I would much rather something like this to have happened in place of the Dark Ages. The religious speculation aside, this is a tale of a common born child who grows up to become a great leader of his time using knowledge, innovation, and force of personality to counter...more
I just re-read this book. I enjoyed it overall. I tend to like almost anything involving the vikings, norse, mythology, the dark ages, heroic this book is right up my alley.

I did enjoy it. However, the anti-christian bias was too much. Were there nasty and vile priests in the dark ages? Yes, obvioulsy. Were there unscrupulous Christians in the dark ages? Yes. But the book seems to present Christianity as all bad.

The story does seem rather generic with the norse backdrop. Slave mov...more
I read everything by Harry Harrison. I've even met the man, for crying out loud. But to a non-fan, every one of his alternate history trilogies follows the same path--low-born hero finds reputation through innovation and logic in the face of dogmatic illogic. So if you've read one and expect something different, keep walking. This trilogy deals with Christianity and the method with which it enslaved the western world. Heard enough? The heroes in this case are Vikings, who become more powerful th...more
Sean Randall
Given that I like a great deal of Harry Harrison's work, i'm surprised that I haven't yet read any of his alternative history novels. hadn't, I should say, as I now clearly have.

I utterly enjoyed this one, I'll admit. history not being my strong point I'm sure there are many nuances I'll have missed, but even without a grounding in the era it's a fantastic story and an intellectually intriguing experience. The combat was well described, the Vikings richly detailed and the linguistics were just i...more
Voglio premettere che ho comprato questo libro (anzi tutta la trilogia) soltanto perchè era compresa in un pacchetto con altri libri che mi interessavano su e-bay...e devo dire che è stata davvero una piacevole sorpresa. Una tipologia di racconto molto classica, ma resa in modo particolare...soprattutto il protagonista trovo sia un gran bel personaggio, molto umano, molto reale ma contemporaneamente con qualcosa del dio.
Uno stile di scrittura anch'esso particolare, i dettagli di scontri, battag...more
A very compelling and entertaining story. I nearly kept this book in my permanent collection so it is a very good read. I am going to send this to someone on listia as a bonus surprise book. This book is too good not to share. =)
This is the first volume of one of my all time favorite trilogies. I have owned multiple copies and have read them 3 times over the last two decades.

I'd recommend reading a Norse mythology book before starting this (for those who are not already familiar with it), so the attributes of the various Norse gods mentioned in the series will be understood. Shef is one of the strongest and most intelligent protagonists of any series I've ever read. Also worth mentioning, this series is definitely not f...more
Ian Barlow
It was a hard read to start with as the story seemed to meander without any real purpose. About half way through it seemed to fall into place and became much easier the read. I will definatly look into getting the other 2 books in the trilogy.
This is a really good book in a good series. It's an alternate universe historical fiction book with elements of mythology and early engineering feats. There are some rather graphic violent scenes, but they aren't gratuitous.

Every few years when I'm between books or coming off another series, I will return to this and each time I've read the series I've gotten more out of it.
VERY enjoyable trilogy. Alternate history where the Norse culture has a fighting chance against Christianity thanks to a medieval genius using the powers of rationality. Well written, and I especially loved the characters. It makes you remember that people who lived in the past were still the same kinds of people that you know now.
Religious speculation, alternate history, plays into another passion of mine, Nordic and Germanic myth cycles....mature work by another 'children's' author in his of the top 10%. Violent, explicit torture, very well researched and written.
A friend recommended this book to me in a discussion about Ivar the Boneless.
I was annoyed by the main character, who is a Gary Stu (and even more so in the second book), and there was too little about Ivar. Generally I was left quite disappointed.
An interesting exploration of what might have been if Christianity was myth and the Old Norse Gods real with lots of great battles thrown in.
C.I. DeMann
Fabulous book, fabulous series, some of the best alternate reality I've ever read, HIGHLY recommended.
Very interesting idea - well written - some of my favourite vikings are here!
One of my favourite books. Read it several times.

Awesome alternate history tale. Lots of Viking violence.
Neat mix of fantasy and history...
Hollyjm marked it as to-read
Apr 19, 2014
J W marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2014
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) was an American science fiction author best known for his character the The Stainless Steel Rat and the novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), the basis for the film Soylent Green (1973). He was also (with Brian W. Aldiss) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction G...more
More about Harry Harrison...
The Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #4) The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #4-6) A Stainless Steel Rat is Born (Stainless Steel Rat, #1) The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (Stainless Steel Rat, #7) The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (Stainless Steel Rat, #6)

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