Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Faraway North: Scandinavian Folk Ballads” as Want to Read:
The Faraway North: Scandinavian Folk Ballads
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Faraway North: Scandinavian Folk Ballads

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  13 reviews
These ballads convey a fantastic vision of the world as it was imagined in medieval Scandinavia, with monsters and magic intermingled with very human concerns of heroism, tragedy, love, and revenge.

The great hero Sigurd is joined in this collection by troll-battling warriors including Holger Dane, Orm the Strong, and others. There are dramatic scenes of romance, betrayal,
Paperback, 116 pages
Published June 25th 2016 by Skadi Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Faraway North, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Faraway North

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-31
4.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  17 ratings  ·  13 reviews

Sort order
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
All of the ballads in this translated collection carry a similar theme. The hero, the villain, a maiden. The undying love and battles fought. The ballads are quite short and if as a reader you wish to be handheld through the story, some bits may be confusing to you. For example, the dialogue is not ‘labeled’ and at times you’ll find a good chuck of action didn’t occur. One minute you’re reading how the hero sits on a horse ready to fight a troll and the next minute you’re conversing with the mai ...more
Dax Munro
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ian Cumpstey has produced three collection of translated Scandinavian folk ballads. In this collection, entitled 'The Faraway North,' are ballads with themes of fighting for honour and love, with particular emphasis on Christianity, and on the unspoiled virtue of young maidens.

This particular selection of ballads chronicles various heroic quests, such as those involving knights rescuing damsels from mythical beasts, suitors vying for the hand of a maiden, as well as those undertaken by legendary
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Faraway North is a collection of traditional Scandinavian ballads introduced and translated by Ian Cumpstey. It’s a huge and frankly impressive undertaking, and it’s obvious from the list of references that an enormous amount of work went into the translations. The introductions are clear and sometimes entertaining in their own right due to to the author’s wry sense of humor, and the topics are pretty much what you would expect if you’re familiar with the subject matter – warriors battling t ...more
This collection didn't feel quite as fun to me as his previous collection, Warrior Lore. I think maybe because it was longer or because the themes and subject matter interested me less; I generally prefer Norse stories to Germanic tales of chivalry. Regardless, this is another strong and valuable collection that is a delight to have.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Faraway North is a collection of Scandinavian folk ballads introduced and translated by Ian Cumpstey. They range from Danish, to Swedish, to Norwegian. As well as tales of trolls, daring, and wit. There are fifteen translated ballads.

The amount of work that went into these translations is commendable. He includes a list of resources in the back index, showing that he translated the ballads often from multiple sources.

The organization is also another fantastic thing about this collection. Eac
Danielle N
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tales of heroics and romance with a touch of paranormal! Throw a few trolls in the mix for added bonus, and this is a fantastic collection of ballads. Accompanied by brief inserts of history before each ballad, The Faraway North provides a fluid and fantastic reading experience!

Full review here.
Andrea Lundgren
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book review: I was very excited to be asked to review this book. Since both I and my husband share a Scandinavian heritage, it was personally a delight to read tales of the men and women who lived (or might've lived) on those northern shores. Before this, I had only the most cursory understanding of Norse myths, though I have read Tolkien's edition of Beowulf, and this proved to be a great book for broadening one's knowledge of the folk tales that could've been shared and told by my ancestors.

David Wiley
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I loved reading through this. The Medievalist in me delighted at these short and catchy ballads. Ian did a great job at translating them in a way where repetition, rhyme, and rhythm all seemed to be in tact. Being no expert at Scandinavian, I cannot say how faithful the translations themselves were to the original text but, based upon the notes provided I am inclined to trust that Ian is knowledgeable about the language as well as the lore surrounding these Medieval Ballads.

The introducti
David Baird
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a real surprise for me. I honestly has no idea if it would be something I would enjoy since I’ve read nothing like it before but I needn’t have been worried.. it was rather impressive if I’m honest

The author has picked some of his favourite ballads translated into English for us to enjoy

I particularly liked how the author broke down the tale before you read it so you could understand what was to come. Some of the words used wouldn’t make sense without this background information, w
K.T. Munson
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Actually 4.5 stars.


If you like folklore and mythology this is a great little read. It is educational and entertaining. There are tons of characters all of whom get into their own little trouble/story. Some are tragedies, some are comedies, but they all are interesting. I really appreciated that the author explained what was happening before the ballad. It really helped a layman, like myself, understand what was happening. There was also an introduction at the beginning and a summary of i
Jeffrey Hatcher
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These Scandinavian ballads are colorful and captivating. They will appeal to all ages. They provide especially good material for introducing poetry to young people and offer a culturally meaningful divergence from Harry Potter. More than that, however, they are a scholarly achievement reflecting a great deal of professional work.

Cumpstey prefaces each one in a readable and scholarly manner. His translations are all the more impressive for keeping a lyrical tone. A literary type will find the boo
Danielle Urban
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Faraway North by Ian Cumpstey has set me back to when I was in high school. I remember reading a lot more literature that covered these themes back then. I was excited and enticed. The title brought a lot of thought running through my mind. I wasn't sure what to expect, until reading it. Ian Cumpstey has won my attention with his brilliant writing style. Adventure after adventure, I was thoroughly entertained. Each ballard, contained action, risks, and sacrifices. Interesting, engaging, and ...more
Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~
Check out my full review here: https://escapingrealitybookreviews.wo...

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It’s been a while since I’ve read a collection of ballads, so I figured I was well overdue for one. I definitely did not regret this read! It gave a fabulous insight into the Scandinavian Folk Ballads, something I had never gotten to read much of before.

I'm 19, and I highly recommend this collection.
Dan Nelson
rated it it was amazing
Jul 03, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2016
Sheila Louise Wright
rated it it was amazing
Oct 25, 2018
Christina Browne
marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2016
marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
Scott McCauley
marked it as to-read
Mar 04, 2017
marked it as to-read
Dec 11, 2017
dreamer of art
marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2017
Inge Dahl
marked it as to-read
Nov 05, 2018
marked it as to-read
Nov 13, 2018
added it
Dec 18, 2018
marked it as to-read
Dec 31, 2018
Kelsey Mae
marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2019
marked it as to-read
Dec 22, 2016
lori love
is currently reading it
Mar 22, 2017
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Ian Cumpstey lived and worked in Sweden for eight years. He has now returned to England, and lives in Cumbria. He is an associate member of the Swedish to English literary translators association. He has published three collections of translations of Scandinavian folk ballads: Lord Peter and Little Kerstin (2013), Warrior Lore (2014), and The Faraway North (2016).