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Viking Warrior (The Strongbow Saga #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  1,440 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
A young man only at peace when he is at war

Young Halfdan is a slave. He is crafty with a bow and arrow and wise in the ways of the animals, but he can only dream of a warrior's life. That is, until the dark day a Saxon's blows lay his father on his deathbed, and his mother makes a tragic bargain for Halfdan's freedom.

A boy's destiny can come at the most terrible price. Hal
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Hardcover, 360 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published June 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,636)
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Trish
Feb 13, 2009 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Sarah's latest series. She borrowed the book from the school library and passed it along to me after she read it. She's almost done with the second book now and tells me that I will want to read it, too.

I found that I understood a lot of the terms and the reasoning behind the Viking way of life because of the first Nancy Farmer book I read recently. In comparison, this one is less poetic and less fanciful, but the similarities confirm the truth and realistic qualities of the story. The c
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Susan Peek
I LOVED this book and can't wait to read Book 2 in the series! The characters are very well developed (you'll fall in love with the two heroes, believe me!), the details of Viking life are incredibly well-researched and portrayed, and the plot moves at breakneck speed. I couldn't wait to put the kids to bed every evening so I could read a few more chapters. I even dreamed about the book when I was asleep!

So, if I loved it so much, you may be wondering, "Why only 4 stars instead of 5?" Actually,
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Charlotte
I have not rated this book as I think it would be unfair to rate it based on my opinion as it is suitable for a much different audience than me. It is categorized as a young adult book, but it is a far more boyish young adult than many teen books. I decided to read it as I have a professional interest in the Viking period, and the depiction of Viking life was indeed well done. I was engaged for about half the book thinking it was evolving into something more complex, but it turned into a boys' a ...more
Leigh Collazo
More reviews at http://readerpants.blogspot.com.

Overall Rating: While this book wasn't really for me, I wholeheartedly recommend this one for middle school boys who like lots of action, war scenes, learning about Viking culture.

What I liked: I can remember studying the Vikings for the first time in fourth grade. We had a young student teacher who knew much about Viking culture and passed that along to the 32 eager young minds in Ms. Schiffanelli's class. Viking culture is just plain interesting,
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Alan
Mar 18, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Norse, like most Medieval societies, were heavily stratified, but not entirely inflexible. Slavery endured longer in the lands of the north, having given way to serfdom much centuries earlier in the Christian kingdoms of Western Europe. Furthermore, the Vikings developed a thriving slave trade. Slavery was not intensive as in Sparta or the Antebellum American South, but slaves were a tradeable commodity. Viking raids took Irish, Saxon and Frankish slaves to work farmsteads in Iceland, Norwa ...more
Katie
Jun 16, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most important thing about a novel that is first in a series is whether or not that novel makes a reader (listener) look forward to the next novel in the series. Viking Warrior has done that for this reader (listener). I look forward to hearing about the continuing adventures of Halfdan in the next novel in the Strongbow Saga, Dragons From The Sea.

The hero of the story, Halfdan, is born a thrall to a household in Denmark. However, there is more in both his family history - and his future - t
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Echo
Jul 09, 2014 Echo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man. I had so many problems with this book. So so many. The two main problems I had were historical accuracy and a severe wish-fulfillment problem. Halfdan can learn any complicated skill in a month! And as a bonus he learned a bunch of them growing up, despite being a slave! Oh and no girls. Because this is a boys book.

Things I don't like: (mild spoilers)

1.) Margins are almost half the page. Wasteful.

2.) His mom is a princess. And wasn't ransomed. Even if her father and fiance were dead, y
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Daniel
Nov 25, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book full of action, honor and betrayal. I was sure if I would like this book since I'm more of fantasy buff but this was good. I like how a slave became royalty and had to learn to act as such, but learns the cost of it. The story was great and I'm looking forward to reading book 2. Halfdan definitely changed throughout the story and I see more change coming great historical fiction book.
Sam Gallardo
Jan 12, 2016 Sam Gallardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an incredible book written By Judson Roberts in 2006. This Non-Fiction novel is about a young man in his teen years names Hafdan. From an incredibly young age Hafdan began to start being familiar with the face of death. This book is an extraordinary story that will keep you on your toes every chapter. Hrorik, Hafdans brother has a real skill for fighting which Hafdan discovers through much training to be a Viking warrior. This book has an amazing ability to put you in the shoes of ...more
Nicholas Prinz
May 27, 2015 Nicholas Prinz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story was something I would recommend to all my male friends. Although, that may sound sexist, the book is clearly male oriented as you read you can find the hidden jokes that I personally feel only a male could truly understand. (Also, this book has some true sexism) Speaking of Honor and Glory which are things more typically told as masculine. Due to this, I cannot help but, feel as though it was made for men. The book helped me to see just how insane the Viking life really could have bee ...more
Kendra
In 9th century Denmark, a child born to a slave is also a slave, and the property of his mother's master. Halfdan, the son of an Irish noblewoman and the Danish chieftain who captured and enslaved her, has grown up a slave in his own father's household. But the Norns, the weavers of the fates of all men, have different plans for him--although rarely do they give a gift without exacting a price. "The Strongbow Saga" is an epic tale of one man's unstoppable quest for justice and vengeance that car ...more
Oshun
Jan 16, 2016 Oshun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was thoroughly entertaining. The book is well-written and well-researched and has a likable protagonist. I also greatly admire the author's industry and craftsmanship.

As a Viking novel, it's exactly what one would expect--a lot of hard-living, fighting, brutality, early medieval grittiness, oaths and the need for vengeance, killing, loss, bravery in the face of loss, etc. The scene-setting and characterization is way above average. I know I could pick up the next book in the series and engag
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Tyler
Dec 11, 2015 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-12
Son of a mighty chieftain and son of a princess, he should be royalty, right? Wrong! He is a lesser thrall living on his father's land, being a slave. Life isn't bad though, considering he is a slave. But after a raid gone foul... His father returns, missing a limb, bleeding out... Halfdan is free.

Viking Warrior is about a thrall-turned-free boy named Halfdan, on his way to figure out who he is, and how he should be a warrior. Long is it that he had dreamed to be free, and as a thrall had exerc
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Marga Vr
Dec 27, 2007 Marga Vr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every young reader
Shelves: youngadult, givenaway
Berdina read it and rated it highly It's carefully written with glossary and historical background. Gave it to Stefan
Sarah
This book looked unusual and intriguing - we don't get much historical fiction or male main characters these days.

Halfdan and his mother are slaves to his father, a Viking warlord. The warlord's wife knows that her husband prefers Halfdan's mother, and is cruel to the Irish captive and her son. But when Halfdan's father dies, his mother is sacrificed as favorite concubines were, and Halfdan himself is adopted into the family according to his father's wishes. His stepmother chafes at this, but h
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jillian nessie
Point A I'd like to make about this book: I really really liked it. Loved it, even? The characters were real and believable, the story interesting and well paced, the history...well, it was history, and to history nut like myself it was wonderful and very well done.
Which leads to Point B: The somewhat-negative reviews for the nasty content in it. The vikings were, by all accounts, an immoral lot with a taste for bloodshed. This book being a historically accurate portrayal of vikings, you're boun
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Lady Knight
I'm really not a huge fan of viking-style books (Rosemary Sutcliffe is the closest I'd ever read before this) but I must admit this was not only the best I've read, but Judson Roberts is going on my list of top ten favorite authors. The story is detailed, complex, intriguing and it feels real. I love fantasy books, don't get me wrong, but this book had all the colour fantasy books do, but with facts and truth to back it up. After reading this book I did some research about when and where it's se ...more
Richard Pinnell
Aug 06, 2010 Richard Pinnell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About 6 months ago I started reading Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Series and became hopelessly addicted to Historical Novels set in the Early Mediaeval Period (formerly refereed to as "The Dark Ages"). Having finished all of the Cornwell novels I started to hunt around for something new and found this. Like The Saxon series this book is set in the 9th Century. The difference being that Uhtred, the main character in the Saxon Series, is a Saxon fighting the Danes, and Halfdan, the hero of this bo ...more
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I love stories about Vikings, and I loved how this one was very accurate. Mr. Roberts did his research on this quite wonderfully. It was not one of the cliché Viking stories where they are portrayed pretty much as ancient pirates, and the extensive historical note in the back, clearly shows all the research that went into this novel to make it accurate, so my hat off to Judson Roberts!

Cover-- Yae or Nay: I really like the pictures fo
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Karen Ball
Jun 05, 2011 Karen Ball rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent historical fiction with a solid base on what life was like for most people during the time of Viking invasions (before 1000 AD). Lots of action, violence and bloodshed, so if that's not your favorite fare, this may not be for you. For those mature readers (I recommend for 8th grade and up) who can handle that, this is well written with phenomenal character development. Be ready -- Roberts has no problem killing off characters you've come to like.
Book 1: Viking Warrior -- Halfdan is th
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Sarah
My Review: I must admit, I’ve had a bit of a morbid streak in my literary choices over the past few months. I’ve now gone from modern day warfare to ancient Viking historical novels. Interesting, the twists and turns of my troubled mind… But I won’t pull at that thread now, of course- not while the reading is so good, anyway!

It’s no surprise that Viking Warrior does indeed live up to its name- its many pages are filled with bloody battles, enormous, bear-like men in furs and armor; all of whom
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bird
Oct 12, 2012 bird rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because of the morbid and crass content that this book features many people have given it some-what bad reviews. My twisted mind and I digress however. I love Vikings and when I read a Viking book I don't expect cotton candy fluffiness and pretty princesses. With that aside I really enjoyed Viking Warrior by Judson Roberts.

At the same time I was also left a bit sickened at their lifestyle. I know from studying history that the Vikings are violent and often people who lack morals. Don't read this
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Douglas Cook
Rags to riches to rags. Engaging story of a young slave who becomes a Viking Warrior. First in a series - The Strongbow Saga.


First paragraphs
1
A Ship
In one moment the Norns changed the pattern they were weaving in the fabric of my fate. It was a late afternoon, and I was working down by the shore, beside the boathouses. All that day I’d been squaring logs into timbers, and my back and shoulders were weary from swinging the heavy broadaxe. I didn’t mind the labor itself, for though I was but fou
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Stacy
Apr 13, 2010 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
look for an author video interview soon at girlsinthestacks.com!

Excellent book!

A must read! Perfect for those who love adventure reads.

Did I mention that this was an excellent book?

Halfdan was born a slave on the estate of chieftain Hrorik. At fourteen, he knew the toils of hard labor, knew his fate was sealed as a slave, yet he was a dreamer. He dreamed of adventure, of being free and a warrior.

Then one fateful day Halfdan goes from slave to warrior, and in the process he learns his true ide
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Andrew
Feb 08, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare books that I only kind of liked but at the same time am eagerly awaiting the chance to read more books in the series. This is due to the fact that, as a 280 page book, the plot only really gets going during the last 80 pages, but those last 80 pages are intense and well written and do a great job of making you want to pick up the next book in the series to see what happens next. Unfortunately the first 200 pages prior to that, while interesting, seemed to plod along a b ...more
Curlita
Mar 05, 2013 Curlita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-with-kids, 2013
I bought this as a gift for Dylan, which was a little self-serving. :) This is classified as a teen book, and I wasn't really worried about the reading level, since I was reading it with him. What I didn't realize is that the content is definitely teen level.

The main character is Halfdan, whose mother is a slave taken captive during a raid on Ireland. Halfdan's father is the viking warrior Hrorik, who has a legal wife in addition to his master-slave relationship with Halfdan's mother. At two di
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PickyReader
Historically, this is an interesting book. It is full of interesting facts about the typical Norseman's daily life - both slave and free. It includes much of the "lingo" of the day, such as "thrall" and "carl". I especially enjoyed the bits of mythology included in this book!

But.

Story and plot-wise, this book is as boring as a snail race on a hot summer's day. The plot was very very slow, not much really happened through the course of the story besides the setting of the stage for the next book
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Craig
Feb 06, 2011 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The name and cover of this book suggest it to be just a dime-store novel. However, I found the author had done considerable research and put together a stirring saga of the life and exploits of a typical Viking village about 2/3 up the coast of the Island of Jutland (largest of Denmark's islands) at about 845 AD. Local government, customs, living conditions, plunder, slave trading, survival of the strongest, etc. characterize this nordic tale. The plot is well conceived and characters are well d ...more
Cynthia T Cannon
Like this historical tale

Interesting start to this saga. I will be reading more of this author's work. Have already satisfied a number of my questions about this era, especially the mistaken image of burning a valuable Viking kingship every time a chieftain died. These vessels I had always thought were too valuable and specialized to destroy that frequently.
M A Redhead
Jan 10, 2016 M A Redhead rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this book at all. I hadn't realized it wasn't aimed at adults but I still found the writing very stilted and plodding. I don't think the book reads well, the pace and story telling feels forced and flat and the characters feel very o e dimensional. I only read the first handful of pages before I realised I wasn't going to warm to the writing style and gave up.
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Fascinated since childhood with the Vikings, and a lover his entire life of captivating stories, Judson Roberts decided in 1999 to attempt to combine these interests and write a novel set within the world of the Vikings. Two years and countless hours of research later, the Strongbow Saga, a historical fiction series for adult and teen readers, was born.

Over his long and varied career, Judson Rober
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More about Judson Roberts...

Other Books in the Series

The Strongbow Saga (4 books)
  • Dragons from the Sea (The Strongbow Saga, #2)
  • The Road to Vengeance (The Strongbow Saga, #3)
  • The Long Hunt (The Strongbow Saga, #4)

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