VIKING 
MYTHS & SAGAS
RETOLD FROM ANCIENT NORSE TEXTS


UK print edition published by Talking Stone 2015
US / Canadian edition published by Chartwell (Quarto Books) forthcoming late 2017
eBook edition published worldwide by Talking Stone








‘I met a wild woman walking down the road.  
Her grey hair was grimy and unkempt, 
coiling round her shoulders like winter snakes, 
her eyes unnaturally bright.  She hailed me and began to speak 
in a clear, compelling voice.  This is what she told me.’

The stories of the Viking Age rank amongst the world’s great narrative traditions. Preserved orally through countless generations and eventually transcribed in the 13th Century, their vividly imagined characters and high dramas are richly embroidered with dark humour and wisdom.

This definitive and unique collection presents thirty-four of the most important Viking myths, heroic legends and historical sagas, many previously known only within the academic world. Gods, giantesses, dwarfs, valkyries, ghosts and dragons mingle with real life queens, kings, slaves, lovers and outlaws. Visions of the mythical creation and end of the world contrast with a graphic account of the Vikings’ discovery of North America. It includes tales of the cursed ring that inspired Tolkien, and the story behind Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Written  in consultation with leading scholars, the book also contains proverbs, spells, poems, riddles, detailed notes and a comprehensive glossary, offering a unique insight into Viking Age culture and beliefs.


"Myths and legends expert with a collection of 34 of the most important Viking myths, heroic legends and historical sagas...bring Viking people, culture and beliefs vividly to life... along with the odd dragon, ghost and valkyrie." - The Bookseller

"Weaves together different versions of Norse sagas into highly readable and tellable renderings, that have also been carefully researched as the unobtrusive but informative notes show." - Gramarye, The Journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy at Chichester University


"In presenting her versions of stories from Scandinavian myth and legend, as well as extracts from Icelandic sagas, Rosalind Kerven...writes in a distinguished tradition. While many modern retellings of these stories are sanitized versions for children, Kerven’s are aimed at adults and are better described as 'reimaginings', with copious endnotes explaining how her versions differ from their sources. The stories are short and lively, a few even successfully presented in verse. There is a strong focus on character and dialogue... Those who already know Kerven’s sources will enjoy spotting her many re-interpretations. Other readers should first enjoy these stories and then seek out the originals, precisely for their differences of tone and emphasis"  – Times Literary Supplement


“An excellent and informative book surrounding all the Viking myths and legends.  The author’s writing style is so excellent and at a perfect pace so that it truly feels like you are sitting round a fire at camp being told a story… The range covered in this book is also exceptional, from all the places the Vikings travelled to, to the number of mythical creatures; gods, dragons, trees, trolls, all sorts.  All in all, an excellent, insightful and informative book that I am very pleased to have discovered.” – 5-star reader review on both goodreads.com and amazon.