The Greatest Viking

The Life of Olav Haraldsson

Desmond Seward

The true story of one of the most famous of all Viking warriors who remains a national hero in Norway. With reference to Norse sagas and early chronicles, veteran historian Desmond Seward has written a vivid, colourful and insightful account of a remarkable man and the times in which he lived.
Date Published :
December 2022
Publisher :
Illustration :
12pp color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781780277950
Pages : 272
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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A ruthless Viking warrior who named his most prized battle weapon after the Norse goddess of death, Olav Haraldsson and his mercenaries wrought terror and destruction from the Baltic to Galicia in the early eleventh century. Thousands were put to the sword, enslaved or ransomed. In England, Canterbury was sacked, its archbishop murdered and London Bridge pulled down. The loot amassed from years of plunder helped Olav win the throne of Norway, and a century after his death he was proclaimed ‘Eternal King’ and has been a national hero there ever since.

Despite his bloodthirsty beginnings, Olav converted to Christianity and, in a personal vendetta against the old Norse gods, made Norway Christian too, thereby changing irrevocably the Viking world he was born into. Told with reference to Norse sagas, early chronicles and the work of modern scholars, Desmond Seward paints an intensely vivid and colourful portrait of the life and times of arguably the greatest Viking of them all.

About The Author

Desmond Seward was educated at Ampleforth and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Among the most highly regarded popular historians of his generation, he was the author of some thirty books, including biographies of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry V, Richard III, Marie Antoinette and Metternich. He passed away in 2022.


All books about historical subjects should be as good as this one: but very few actually are'

- Undiscovered Scotland

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