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The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki

by Jesse L. Byock

Composed in medieval Iceland, Hrolf's Saga recalls ancient Scandinavia of the Migration Period, when the warrior chieftain King Hrolf ruled in Denmark.<P> In the Viking World, King Hrolf served as a symbol of courage. Sharing rich oral traditions with the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, Hrolf's Saga recounts the tragedy of strife within Denmark's royal hall. It tells of powerful women and the exploits of Hrolf's famous champions - including Bodvar Bjarki, the 'bear-warrior', who strikingly resembles Beowulf. Combining heroic legend, myth and magic, Hrolf's Saga is full of wizards, sorceresses, and 'beserker' fighters, originally members of the cult of Odin. Most startling is the central love triangle: Hrolf's father, a man of insatiable appetites, unknowingly abducts his daughter, who later marries the despised sorcerer King Adils of Sweden.<P> A powerful human drama with deep historical roots, extraordinary events and fierce battle scenes, Hrolf's Saga ranks among the masterworks of the Middle Ages.

The Saga of the Volsungs

by Jesse L. Byock

The Saga of the Volsungs is an Icelandic epic of special interest to admirers of Richard Wagner, who drew heavily upon this Norse source in writing his Ring Cycle and a primary source for writers of fantasy such as J. R. R. Tolkien and romantics such as William Morris. A trove of traditional lore, it tells of love, jealousy, vengeance, war, and the mythic deeds of the dragonslayer, Sigurd the Volsung. Byock's comprehensive introduction explores the history, legends, and myths contained in the saga and traces the development of a narrative that reaches back to the period of the great folk migrations in Europe when the Roman Empire collapsed.

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