A Viking Slave’s Saga (Jan Fridegård’s Trilogy of Novels About the Viking Age): Land of Wooden Gods; People of the Dawn; and Sacrificial Smoke

ACMRS Occasional Publications Series, Vol. 4

A Viking Slave’s Saga (Jan Fridegård’s Trilogy of Novels About the Viking Age): Land of Wooden Gods; People of the Dawn; and Sacrificial Smoke

Translated by Robert E. Bjork (Arizona State Univesity )
2007 | 367 + vi pp. | 978-0-86698-375-4 | Paperback 6 x 9 in
$43 | £30 |

Winner of the 1987 Translation Prize of the American-Scandinavian Foundation

This trilogy centers on a 9th-century thrall named Holme, his wife, Ausi, and their daughter, Tora, and chronicles Holme's struggle against his Viking enemies, initially as a relatively helpless blacksmith slave who witnesses his chieftain order Holme's newborn baby put out in the forest to die. It also relates the beginning of the clash, which becomes more and more violent as the trilogy proceeds, between paganism and Christianity in Sweden. A missionary enters Holme’s world in the first novel, tries but gradually fails to convert the recalcitrant Swedes, and is finally offered as a bloody sacrifice to Odinn, Thor, and Freyr. Other Christian missionaries, modelled on Ansgar, the archbishop of Hamburg, and his companion, Witmar, who conducted the first recorded mission to Sweden in c. 830 AD, arrive in the second novel, which likewise pits Holme and the slaves he represents against the freemen and Christians. The last novel finishes the story of the increasingly oppressive and ruthless incursion of Christianity into the North and ends in predicable tragedy for the protagonist.

Reprint in one volume of:

Land of Wooden Gods (Trägudars land, 1940),
People of the Dawn (Gryningsfolket, 1944), and
Sacrificial Smoke (Offerrök, 1949).
All three published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1989, 1990, 1991.