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Saga of Eric Brighteyes
H. Rider Haggard
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Saga of Eric Brighteyes

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  387 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
The Saga of Eric Brighteyes is the title of an epic Viking novel by H. Rider Haggard, and concerns the adventures of its eponymous principal character in 10th century Iceland. Eric Thorgrimursson (nicknamed "Brighteyes" for his most notable trait), strives to win the hand of his beloved, Gudruda the Fair. Her father Asmund, a priest of the old Norse gods, opposes the match ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published by Newcastle Publishing (first published 1891)
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This isn't the best modern pastiche of the Viking saga style that I've read (that would be Frans Gunnar Bengtsson's The Long Ships), but it's a very, very good one. Not being overly familiar with the original sagas, I can't speak to its accuracy, but it certainly feels authentic enough. You'll need to have a high tolerance for archaisms (thankfully, I do), as "thee"s and "thou"s abound. For some that may be a deal-breaker, but for me it just adds to the flavor. Haggard's intention was to emu
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second of Haggard's big historical epics (after Cleopatra). In this case, we have a viking story modeled very consciously on the old Icelandic sagas [ASIDE: I hadn't really realized how much of a presence the vikings had in Iceland, nor that so many of the big stories we know are actually from there, not from up in Scandinavia.] Our hero, Eric Brighteyes is, of course, young, handsome, strong and brave (and possibly not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but let's never mind that for now). Natura ...more
There lived a man in the south...He was named Eric Brighteyes, Thorgrimur’s son, and in those days there was no man like him for strength, beauty, and daring, for in all these things he was the first. But he was not the first in good luck.

I enjoyed reading this. It was my first time getting a taste of an Icelandic saga, although I guess it’s important to mention that H.R. Haggard was not himself Icelandic, but English. He wrote this book shortly after returning from a trip to Iceland, wantin
Nov 14, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Rod

Gutenberg link:


You have graciously conveyed to me the intelligence that during the weary weeks spent far from his home—in alternate hope and fear, in suffering and mortal trial—a Prince whose memory all men must reverence, the Emperor Frederick, found pleasure in the reading of my stories: that "they interested and fascinated him."

While the world was watching daily at the bedside of your Majesty's Imperial husband, while many were endeavourin
Lots of prophesying going on in "Eric Brighteyes" - it seems almost any character is up to it - bad or good, dead or alive. So we know what's going to happen, and so do the protagonists (although they don't seem to make much effort to escape their fate). We may know what's going to happen, but not how, and this is what really matters. There's a lot of fighting and killing - the tragedy is right up there with Hamlet - hardly anyone left alive. I loved the part where Eric gets back from exile and ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not for me. The writing is archaic and could be hard to follow. Too much dialogue and not much exciting action. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of fighting but reading all those pages of Eric vanquishing his foes almost effortlessly becomes tedious. The plot was linear and oh so transparent. Mostly though, it was the poor choices all the characters made over and over; especially Eric that just ruined the book for me. This book came highly recommended, I just couldn't enjoy it. The only posit ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haggard's classic Viking romantic tragedy is one of the finest novels of its genre. It is a fast-paced story filled with all the great elements literature, including a hero often blind to those who betray him to his tragic end. Haggard's rich use of language makes the reader feel the frigid desperation of the a winter storm on the Northern Atlantic, the bloodlust of a desperate duel between two raging Viking warriors, as well as the fire of young love that leads the lovers to their doom. The mos ...more
Kami Li
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
pamiętaj mój złoty... kobiety to tylko kłopoty...
Jon Johnson
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed this book greatly it could be difficult to read at points because it was written to mimic the style of the Icelandic oral tradition of storytelling. But it is well worth the effort.
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
H Rider Haggard -- best known for his adventure tales set in Africa, like "King Solomon's Mines" and "She" -- wrote one of, if not the first, modern English sagas in the Icelandic model. (William Morris' "House of the Wolfings" was published at about the same time, from I've read so far it also models itself on the Icelandic saga.)

Haggard wrote this shortly after a visit to Iceland, and he did his best to incorporate the best of the sagas -- poetic descriptions of landscapes, seascapes, and bat
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Sir Henry Rider Haggard was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and the creator of the Lost World literary genre. His stories, situated at the lighter end of the scale of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential. He was also involved in agricultural reform and improvement in the British Empire.

His breakout novel was King Solomon
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