viking: king's man

viking: king's man

Tim Severin

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0330426753

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

It is Constantinople in 1035, and Thorgils has become a member of the Varangian lifeguard, where he witnesses the glories of the richest city on earth. He embarks on a campaign launched to recover Sicily from the Saracens. After years of traveling, Thorgils retreats to Sweden, but is eventually summoned again to assist in coordinating William the Conqueror’s invasion of England. In September 1066, a Norse fleet of three hundred ships sails towards England and the battle begins. It is a prophetic dream that makes Thorgils warn the troops of the impending disaster at Stamford Bridge, but even he cannot turn aside what fate has decreed—the end of the Viking world.

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boat approached the landing stage, the sight of the moored flotilla of a dozen or so boats suddenly made me homesick for the northern lands. The monocylon, as John had called them, were a smaller version of the curved seagoing ships I had known all my life. The boats docked at Mamas were less well built than genuine ocean-going vessels, but they were handy enough for short sea crossings and very different from the tubby hulls favoured by the Greeks. My nostalgia grew as I scrambled up on to the

the hill. 'Styrkar,' he asked softly. 'Did we post any sentinels on the hill?' 'No, my lord. I did not consider it necessary. Our scouts reported only a few peasants in the area.' 'Those are not peasants.' Tostig was also watching the new arrivals. More and more men, both mounted and on foot, were coming over the brow of the hill. The leading ranks were beginning to descend the slope, fanning out to make room for those behind them. 'If I didn't know otherwise, I would say those are royal

clear the passage. The Norwegian champion was a master of hand-to-hand fighting. He killed one challenger with a sword thrust through the body, decapitated the second with a swiping back-handed axe blow that seemed to come from nowhere, and deftly tripped up the third attacker who had come close enough to grapple with him, then pushed him over the edge of the bridge into the river below. Each encounter was met with groans or cheers by the two armies watching the spectacle from each side of the

a vessel known locally as a dorkon or 'gazelle'. Twenty paces in length, the vessel was light and fast for a cargo carrier. She had two masts for her triangular sails, a draught shallow enough to allow her to work close inshore, and extra oar benches for sixteen men so she could make progress in a calm as well as manoeuvre her way safely in and out of harbour. Her captain also inspired me with confidence. A short, sinewy Greek by the name of Theodore, he came from the island of Lemnos, and he

thousand seasoned warriors across the Great Sea, and our spies estimated that his force would soon increase to more than twenty thousand men, as more recruits were arriving every day. Maniakes reacted with typical decisiveness. He ordered the tagmata to prepare to march, but not strike camp. Each unit was to leave behind a few men who would give the impression that the siege was still in place. They were to remain as visible as possible, keep the cooking fires burning, mount patrols and

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