Viking Warrior (The Strongbow Saga Book 1)
The first four books, Viking Warrior , Dragons from the Sea , The Road to Vengeance , and The Long Hunt are available, while book 5, the final installment of the story, has been tentatively suggested to come out in the first half of The first three volumes of The Strongbow Saga were originally published between and as young adult fiction by HarperCollins.
The Strongbow Saga - Wikipedia
The series was republished as general historical fiction, beginning in , by Northman Books. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this by adding secondary or tertiary sources. And adding to the feeling of relentless grind was the often brutally hot and very dry weather of July and August, forcing us often to do our outside work late into the evening after temperatures began to fall. Also, during much of August and part of September, thick smoke as the photo above illustrates often blanketed our farm from the numerous wildfires burning across Oregon, some only ten to fifteen miles away.
Most days we only ended up grabbing an hour or so of respite, usually after By mid-fall, when the garden chores finally began to slow—and thankfully, the rains began and extinguished the wildfires—we had to catch upon everything other than the garden that we had been neglecting on the farm. Needless to say, no work of any kind occurred on the book during that stretch of months from June through early November. But though this summer was a struggle for us, we cannot help but feel, in light of what has been happening around the world this year, to feel fortunate.
Our freezers are full with the bounty from our farm, and we have our health—although Jeanette was injured earlier this month, painfully but fortunately not permanently, when a young ram butted her in the leg. It has been a year of terrible natural disasters: We dealt with exhaustion and lost time, but compared to so many who have experienced devastating loss, we are among the lucky ones. It feels like the earth spoke this year. Although there are still those, including the current president of the United States and many cabinet leaders in his administration, who try to deny it, we are all facing a very dangerous global threat.
The deniers argue that there have always been climate shifts, with prolonged cold periods, like the ice ages, and prolonged hot ones. That is a simplistic argument that ignores what is different about what is happening now. Past major climate shifts occurred gradually over extended periods of time, hundreds or sometimes even thousands of years. This one is happening at a speed that has never been seen before. Every year the average temperature of the planet is rising.
Almost every year new records are set for high temperatures, droughts, and other measures of climate. And the rapidly rising temperatures are setting in motion more and more extreme weather patterns and catastrophic weather-caused events. This is not theory or conjecture. It is accepted by the overwhelming majority of scientists around the world. It is accepted by the government of every single country in the world—except the United States, thanks to our science-denier president. Every other country in the world has now joined the Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement that human-caused climate change is happening, that it is terribly dangerous, and that every nation must do what it can to curb the emission of greenhouse gases in order to try to slow the warming of the planet.
We are all citizens of the earth. We are all in this together. Things are going to get worse.
The Strongbow Saga
The planet, and the human species, are in uncharted territory. Let me give one small example. My son is a scientist in training. He is a PhD candidate in an area of very advanced applied mathematics: He explained that the difficulty creating a predictive model about the reefs illustrates how what is happening with the climate is a new phenomenon. Normally historical data on things such as prior occasions of coral reef bleaching, changing ocean temperatures, etc.
But there is no prior data. There is no evidence that a mass die-off of coral reefs has ever occurred before. But it is happening now, and the rate at which it is occurring is accelerating. There is a genuine possibility that the tiny sea creatures that create coral reefs may be facing extinction. That might not sound very serious to you. But life on this earth is intricately interconnected. Coral reefs create rich, healthy habitat for a large variety of fish and other sea creatures. If the reefs all die, it will have a negative impact on every creature that depends upon them to live.
Numerous major close-to-shore fisheries around the world will collapse. When that happens, millions of people will lose not only their means of supporting themselves and their families, but also their primary source of food. That is the elephant in the room that so far has not been widely addressed in discussions of climate change.
As species extinctions occur, as areas that now are capable of producing food no longer will be able to due to drought, as heavily populated coastal areas become uninhabitable due to rising sea levels caused by melting arctic ice, there is going to be a humanitarian crisis on a scale the world has never seen.
Try to get your head around it. Over the past few years, the European Union has been strained at times almost to the breaking point by an influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the wars in the Middle East and Africa. That is just a fraction of what is likely to occur as the climate changes brought on by increasing global temperatures progresses.
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What is going to happen when there are millions upon millions facing and trying to flee starvation and uninhabitable homes? A fan of the Strongbow Saga series, Jaeden Byerly, recently asked on the Discussions page of this website when, or even if, book 5 might be coming out.
I am painfully aware that I am running far behind on finishing and publishing it. I know that there are authors who regularly manage to publish at least one book per year, and I have one author acquaintance who often publishes more than one per year. Let me try to explain. First of all, writing is not a full time job for me.
For some authors—like the one I know who sometimes writes more than one book a year—it is. For me, writing is one of four part-time jobs that I have to try to divide my time among. The most time consuming of my jobs is the farm that my wife, Jeanette, and I moved to five years ago. There are chickens and sheep to tend to every day, and our large garden requires a lot of work to plant, care for, harvest, preserve the food, etc. But after decades of working at often emotionally grueling jobs in law and law enforcement for me, and nursing for Jeanette, it is a life that we find brings us much peace, satisfaction, and pleasure, and to be able to experience that we gladly accept the amount of constant physical labor the life requires.
We have also chosen to embrace this farm life for health reasons. Many people, as they grow older, become less and less active, which tends to have deleterious effects on both the mind and body.
We have chosen to fight aging as much as possible by becoming more active, not less. Additionally, I have for some years now had a chronic health problem: Years ago, when I first became ill with it, I was often quite sick, to the point where I could not realistically hold down a full time job any more.
But I have in recent years found that I can keep the effects of my MS at a very manageable level through eating a very healthy diet: By producing a large percentage of what we eat, we can ensure that our food does not contain chemicals, hormones, drugs, or any of the other contaminants that are frequently found in commercially produced food products.
Adopting this diet has wonders on my MS. Admittedly, when we took on this new life five years ago, Jeanette and I had no idea what we were getting into, nor any concept of how constantly demanding the life would be. Without question, it takes a lot of time away from writing or anything else, for that matter. Another of the part time jobs that consume my time is running our publishing business. The first three books of the Strongbow Saga were originally published by HarperCollins, one of the big publishers.
With them in charge, I made almost nothing from the books. So about seven years ago, I regained the rights to the series, and Jeanette and I set up our own company through which we republished books one through three, and eventually published book four in late Through our company we also arranged for the creation of the audio book editions, and have been gradually getting the series translated into German and on sale in Germany.
But running a business takes time. But the books currently do not bring in enough monthly income to fully cover all of our expenses—do not assume that most writers, including this one, make a lot of money. I have to supplement my writing income so we can make ends meet, which I do by investing, which requires a number of hours of my time every week to manage. Finally, we come to the writing. From the above, it must be obvious that I do not have time every day to write. That alone is a big part of why book five has been taking so long to see the light, and why book four did, too.
But it is more than just a question of time—it also has to do with how I write. When I begin work on a new installment of the Strongbow Saga story, I initially have only a very broad, general idea of where the story is going to go next. For instance, something that occurs often in the old Viking sagas are violent feuds and nighttime attacks on homesteads, as part of those feuds.
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Those elements of Viking life appeared in book one, Viking Warrior. Viking raids against other lands were obviously also a large element of the Viking era. And the very large scale attack on Frankia—a raid on an entirely different scale, more warfare than raid, and an actual event of the ninth century—provides the the primary setting and historical backdrop for books two and three, Dragons from the Sea and The Road to Vengeance.
Another very iconic aspect of the Viking period was the occasional battles at sea which are related in a number of the old sagas, so I have almost from the beginning intended to at some point work such a battle into the story, and decided to in book four. Similarly, there are specific aspects of Viking life and the Viking period that I have long intended to be a backdrop for that part of the story contained in book five.
What that means is that as I do research for a particular book, invariably the more I learn about an area, a historical event, or the like, the more my bare bones starting outline becomes fleshed out with additional details, or sometimes even new subplots and story lines. In book four, for example, as I researched the route across the Baltic Sea that Toke and his pursuers would have followed, I discovered the island of Oland, with its mysterious series of ancient, abandoned fortresses, and chose to weave it into the story.
My research also uncovered that pirates were a serious problem in the Baltic, and that, around the time the story was set, Frankish Christian missionaries were violently expelled from Birka, and a Danish attack on that town was threatened. The story also always evolves as I become more deeply engaged with the characters, and try to think about what they would have been thinking and feeling in any given situation or scene. Without getting into too much detail, the first part of the story in book five deals with the efforts by Halfdan, Hastein, and their men to find and rescue Sigrid, who was sold in Birka to an Arab slave trader.
But the research has proved to be far more difficult and time consuming than I anticipated. For the ninth century time period when the story is set, there are far fewer sources, and far less concrete historical knowledge, of what was happening in Russia compared to what was happening in the west, in locations like England, Frankia, and Ireland. I actually cried in some parts of the book. When a book does that, it is special. A lot of pain in this book though, so it was a little intense. This is storytelling at its finest.
The entire Strongbow Saga, 3 books so far, kept me riveted page after page. The writing is well done; simple yet engaging prose and convincing dialogue. The setting is well developed even for readers unfamiliar with the history.
Characters are well developed. Believable and entertaining fiction surrounding actual historical events. Well written and well researched.