Discussions

Have a question or a comment about the Strongbow Saga or Judson Roberts’ other work? Want chat with other readers about the books or related subjects? Post here and look for responses from the author and other fans of the series.

407 thoughts on “Discussions

  1. Hello!
    First i have to say, i love the stories of Halfdan and i´m looking forward to what is going to happen next!
    Only thing i am always confused about is, that you always write Ragnar Logbrod when it is really Ragnar Lodbrok (loden breeks). Kind of disturbing.
    But otherwise as i said! LOVE THE STORIES!!!!!

    kind regards, Philipp

    • Thanks, Philipp. Your question is a fair one. In the many years of research I’ve done as background for this series, beginning around 1999, I’ve encountered various spellings of Ragnar’s last name: Lodbrok, Lothbrok, and Lodbrod. The confusion comes from the fact that the English language alphabet does not have letters which exactly correspond to some of the consonants and vowels of the Old Norse language. Lodbrok does seem to be the most commonly used translation now, and if I hadn’t already used the version “Lodbrod” (and at this late date I cannot recall why I chose that version), I would use Lodbrok in the series. But changing it at this point would, in my opinion, cause more confusion and would be more trouble than the slight difference is worth.

  2. Hey Judson, Just finished your latest book and I am kinda sad now :(

    I really loved it and cannot wait until the next book, however long it may take. If it takes 20 years to complete I don’t care, as long as it is completed.

    You are my absolute favorite author of all time and I’m so glad I found your books.

    Marcus.

  3. I have just finished books one through four of the Strongbow saga, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

    I truly hope that you would see to finishing this series before starting on your other quest. It is nice to get the first job done?

    I hope that Genevieve comes back (with child?) I really liked her.

    Note that on Amazon your homepage does not list the Long Hunt.

    Kind regards

    Graham

    • Thank you, Graham. I appreciate the heads up about the Amazon home page.

      The reason my next book project will be completing The Beast of Dublin, instead of writing book 5, the conclusion of The Strongbow Saga, is that TBOD is in some ways a prequel to the series, and a character introduced in that book, Conall, will figure into the story in book 5–so I need to have his character fully worked out before I get to book 5. So when it comes out there will be elements affecting the series for you and other fans of the series to enjoy–I’m even considering giving Toke a small role in the story.

    • Good question, Scott. My mother’s brother was very interested in his family’s genealogy, and traced it back as far as he could. I have a copy of the charts he made. Some of his–and my–ancestors came over to the U.S. from England very early on, but before that, in England, they were related to a line of Norman nobles that led back to William the Conqueror. He, of course, was a descendant of Rollo, or Hrolf, which was his true name (the Franks/French called him Rollo). Had the genealogy not led into the English nobility it would have been far more difficult to trace, but the history of those families is pretty well documented.

      I suspect my father’s family also traces back eventually to Scandinavian origins–Roberts is probably a shortening of Robertsson, and Scandinavian roots are very widespread in England, given the several times Vikings conquered large areas of that country–but I’ve never tried to trace it.

  4. I just finished reading The Long Hunt and thoroughly enjoyed it. The sea battle was certainly a high point but I enjoy the quiet moments too where you describe the life and especially the values surrounding honor and oaths that you bring to the story.
    Without hopefully seeming presumptous, may I ask what your goal is for completing the Beast of Dublin as I understand that will be the next book you release? I look forward to reading about Halfdan’s Irish roots and Hastein’s background.
    I’m also curious if you’ve ever read any of Robert Low’s Oathsworn books and what your opinion is of them. His stories are sometimes a little over the top but he also seems to have a very good grasp of that period just as you do.
    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Thanks, Erik, and I’m glad you enjoyed The Long Hunt.

      Re: The Beast of Dublin, my goal is to get it out in 2015. I’d like to not have to put so much of my life on standby as I did last year, in order to get The Long Hunt out by the end of the year as promised, so I’m going to give myself a bit more time. Also, I really need to go to Ireland to do some on-the-ground research for both The Beast of Dublin and for book 5 (the final book) of The Strongbow Saga, and realistically I won’t be able to manage that before autumn. Plus, there are disadvantages to releasing a book at the end of a year–there’s no way it can be noticed enough to make it on any “best of the year” lists, etc.–so that’s another reason I’d prefer to release The Beast other than late this year.

      And that was, by the way, a very polite and gentle way to ask–thanks for that.

      I have not read any of Robert Low’s books. I unfortunately do not have time to do much leisure reading any more, between research reading and life on a farm.

  5. I first read Viking Warrior when I was 12 years old and in 6th grade. I loved the book so much, and the ones that followed, that here I am, 8 years later in college, ordered The Long Hunt as soon as I saw it on amazon and read it in the course of 4 hours.

    Ive taken several Norse/Viking classes specifically because of the Strongbow Saga, and have enjoyed them.

    Thank you so much for writing an amazing trilogy, and I look forward to the time its released. Even if Im 25 by the time its released, I will be the first one to get it.

    Ps, I am currently attending the University of Oregon in Eugene, What would the chances be of being able to meet you?

    • That would be nice to meet. My wife and I get into Eugene about once a week, but don’t always have free time when I’m there. Send me your email address at strongbowsaga@gmail.com and I’ll let you know when I’ll be there with some extra time to meet.

  6. I have a very short list of favorite authors, your at the top, in fact your # 1. Loved book 4, looking forward to book 5. I was also wondering if you plan to finish the Beast of Dublin, loved the preview.

    Good luck and thanks for the good reads – Tim

  7. I was just thinking I how you’ve said it’s not a saga but I’ve read an exert from The Dragon of Dublin and I would almost say that is a a prequel to the Strongbow Saga… Then again that maybe just my thought process.

    I’ve semi-recently got married and as a Christmas gift/New Years gift my wife got me the 4th book, this is my best Christmas so far, thank you (and my wife of course) for making it possible…
    Here’s to a happy 2014! – Josh

  8. Like so many here have posted before, I have never been so engaged in a saga as I have with this series and also I’ve never been inclined enough to exclaim my gratitude for an authors efforts (though others have deserved so). Your writing of Halfdan’s tale is so descriptive and engaging; I truly look forward to each Chapter and every page. Hurrah for letting out that The Beast of Dublin will be the next book coming as I’ve been anticipating it’s finish, as well of course Book 5 in this series.

    Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and the coming New Year Judson and thank you for what you do.

    Cheers!
    Bryan (from Canada)

  9. Judson – I have never posted regarding a book before. Thank you for this series and for sticking with it ad getting the Long Hunt out. I re read the first 3 to get ready for it. I finished it so quickly, it was a wonderful book. I especially love the added humour between the characters. Laughed out loud. Looking for to chasing down Toke

  10. I have just started to read the long hunt, and I just came to say I absolutely love the strongbow saga. I have been flying through the books and am highly entertained. Haven’t been this into a story since finishing the 5th book of a song of ice and fire. I know they are incredibly different types of stories and style of writing but they do have in common that I can’t put them down! Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks, Jrials–that’s a very nice compliment. Now if only I could find a way to attract even a fraction of Martin’s readers to the Saga!

  11. Hey, I just read The Long Hunt and I must say it was a great addition to a fantastic story. I especially enjoyed the diagram depicting the sea battle. I have often found myself reading battles that I am unable to picture in my mind. Those simple pictures were very effective in telling me exactly what was happening during the battle. I very much appreciate this diagram.

    Thanks for your time and your writing,
    Jordan

    PS. The Long Hunt was very much worth the wait. Can’t wait until book five.

    • It would not be possible for anyone to upload the cover image of any book to Facebook unless you were the copyright owner and had an account.

      You might want to think about creating a Facebook account and uploading all of your books covers. A lot of what you write here on the Discussion Board can simply be cut and pasted on your Facebook page and actually you are already doing what you would do on Facebook but you would reach a much larger audience. :)). Contrary to public opinion you don’t really need to get caught up in the daily postings.

      Another category of Facebook pages other than “personal” pages are pages created under a restricted format used only for Celebrity/Organizations/ Business’s or Band pages. Bernard Cornwell has a Facebook page. To see his page you will need a personal Facebook account, but a friend who has one can show you.

      Only the official representative of an organization, business, celebrity or band is permitted to create a Page. Pages are for businesses, organizations and brands to share their stories and connect with people. Like timelines, you can customize Pages by adding apps, posting stories, and more. Engage and grow your audience by posting . People who “LIKE” your Page and their friends will get updates in News Feed which reaches out to many other people.

      I would suggest finding a friend who knows Facebook really well. And I mean, really seriously technically well, not just someone with a personal Facebook page. They can get things set up for you. Our webmaster is a master of Facebook. If you’re interested I can send you contact info however, I would need an email address so it doesn’t go on your Discussion board.

      I’m happy to pay the $17 for the new book – thank you for your talent.

      Kate.

      • Thanks, Kate. There actually is a Strongbow Saga Facebook account, but I made the mistake of setting it up as a personal account, so only “friends” can see it. I accept any friend requests. I tried a while back to convert it, but gave up after having difficulty with Facebook over the request.

        Maybe creating a Page under my own name would be worth considering. Thanks for the suggestions. An email address you can write to is strongbowsaga@gmail.com.

        • Sorry it took me a few days to respond – I forwarded your Facebook comments to our webmaster Chris, who unfortunately responded that he is maxed out and can’t take on anymore clients at this time. I’m sorry to disappoint you. …By the way, I originally sent this to the email address you listed above but it was returned both times as “undeliverable”. If I think of any suggestions in the future, I’ll get back in touch.

          The Long Hunt arrives Tuesday. Have a kind, safe, and wonderful holiday.
          Thank you,
          Kate

    • Paul, it did come out as a Kindle book today and I was going to announce it today, but when I purchased a copy myself for a final review, I discovered that the last paragraph in the “Acknowledgements” section–a paragraph that’s very important to me because it thanks the fans of the series–had somehow gone missing.

      I’ve corrected the file and uploaded it, and the correct version should be out tomorrow, so I’m holding off the official announcement until then. Be sure and update your Kindle book after tomorrow.

  12. On my Facebook page there is an area for favorite movies, TV shows, music, and books which shows an image of favorites selected.

    For books I added “The Strongbow Saga, Book Two: Dragons from the Sea” but there is no cover art. When clicked the page takes one to “Good Reads” where you see no cover art, just the title. Thought you might like to know that it would be great if the cover art for all your books appeared when the book is added to Facebook (and of course Good Reads). (marketing is endless :))!

    I would have pre-ordered “The Long Hunt” on Amazon if it had been available.

    Thank you for your wonderful storytelling.

    • Thanks for giving me that heads up, Kate. I discovered just over the past two weeks that although the new Northman Books edition has been on sale on Amazon since 2010, earlier this year it somehow got deleted from Amazon’s search engines, so if, for example, a search was run for “strongbow saga” to see what books were available, the current print edition of Dragons from the Sea did not show up–just the old, out of print HarperCollins version. I should have been checking my monthly sales figures more closely–looking back, I see that book has only been selling one or two copies a month–but I’ve been so immersed in working on book 4 that I’ve let to many other things slide. Perhaps this issue has something to do with the cover art being missing, as well.

      As you’ll see from the post above yours, the Kindle edition of The Long Hunt actually went on sale today, but there’s an error in it, so I’m holding off on an official announcement until tomorrow, when the corrected version will be up. The print edition should be available later this week.

  13. I just wanted to express my appreciation for the Strongbow series of novels. I enjoyed the first three very much and I am happily anticipating reading the fourth in the series as soon as it is available.

    I am especially pleased with the historical veracity of your writing. Although I do not consider myself an expert on the Viking era, I have always eagerly read non-fiction materials on the subject. I have yet to note even the smallest anachronism or factual fault in the Strongbow novels. I am also pleased to find no evidence of modern attitudes being displayed by any of your characters.

    Having written a novel of my own, I appreciate the time and effort that is required, not only for the actual writing, but also for the necessary research that makes a work of fiction “factually accurate”. So, do not feel that you need to take time from your excellent work to reply to this email.

    Thank you for Strongbow.

    Sincerely,

    David Christie

  14. Hey just asking, would Viking-Age Scandinavians ever own books or use parchment?
    After all, furs and pelts were a major export; monasteries that the Vikings raided often possessed an abundance of books.

    • Viking age Scandinavians used runes, a somewhat simplified form of alphabet, to write with. To my knowledge, no books were ever written in runes. By the end of the Viking era, books were being written in Iceland–that’s when and where most of the old oral sagas and tales from the Viking period were put into writing and preserved. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure what form they were written in–there may have been (probably was) a written version of the Old Norse language by then, using the standard alphabet, but if not, I suspect they’d have been written in Latin. Those first written versions of the sagas were probably written on parchment, although again, I’m giving that answer just based on my general background knowledge, and have not researched it.

      It’s certainly possible that some captured/stolen books might have been taken to Scandinavia, although I’m not aware that any concrete evidence of that has been discovered. The Vikings did have rather eclectic taste–a small statue of the Buddha was found in one Viking-era grave.

  15. I just read the great news that you’ve completed your first draft of The Long Hunt – congratulations and thank you! I look forward to reading it soon.
    I love historical fiction and read all things viking that I can get my hands on, yours rank amongst the most authentic that I have read. As I was born in Northern Jutland (Denmark), have sailed recreated longships out of Roskilde Fjord and walked amongst the ship shaped viking burial grounds of Lindholm Hoje, I was able to mentally trace Halfdans journey in Viking Warrior.
    If there is anything I could comment on it would be the way your books have been marketed based on the cover art. Both the earlier Harper Collins covers and the newer ones do not exactly entice an adult readership. They lend a somewhat juvenile aspect to the books, yet your books are very enjoyable reads for adults!! The UK cover art for B. Cornwell’s Saxon series for example do justice to his writing…I know – don’t judge a book by its cover…yet to some degree we do as humans. Just my thoughts on how to reach a wider readership…please don’t take it the wrong way – I really enjoy your stories! Keep them coming!

    • Thanks, Erik, and sorry to be slow to respond. I’ve been trying to push book 4 along–just sent the second draft out to its editors last night.

      It’s very gratifying to hear that, with your background and experience, you find the series authentic–that is something I strive hard for. I’d love to someday have the chance to sail on one of the recreated longships at the Viking ship museum. I used their website as one of many research sources about the ships while writing book 4, as much of the story takes place over the course of a sea voyage across the Baltic. You’ll have to let me know, after you read it, if I was (hopefully) fairly accurate.

      The original HarperCollins covers were specifically designed to appeal to teenage girls. I thought it a strange decision to tailor the covers for so narrow a group of readers, rather than try for broader appeal, but I was not given a vote on the matter. When I regained the rights and republished the first three books, I was trying to create covers that looked more like general historical fiction, but was working on a very limited budget–commissioning new original artwork was not financially feasible. If book 4 does well enough, perhaps I’ll look at creating new covers.

      I’d love to hear feedback from other readers on this issue. Do you find the current covers for books 1 through 3 appealing, a turn-off, etc., and also what are some fiction book covers you especially like? I’ll hope to see many responses–I’m interested in your thoughts.

      • Dear Judson – I gave your question about book covers some thought and admit that it’s not an easy one. You are probably working with a limited budget for one. Then you have the question of how best to mirror your writing with a cover that remains true to your writing style. If your covers are to parred down and minimalist you might alienate younger readers, on the other hand I think the current covers may be stopping some adult readers from picking them up. It was while I was looking at the cover of your Beast of Dublin preview that it suddenly dawned on me that you might strike the right balance if you took the current back-drops (the burning steading, the sea coast and the French city?) which are nice touches but instead of super-imposing the miniatures which are a little cheesy and juvenile in my opinion, you use the Viking sword that you had on the cover of Beast of Dublin on one of the titles and continue in that vein… a viking helmet, shield, jelling style piece of jewelry, etc. for the other books. I think that might just strike the right balance while keeping to your budget. If you’re headed north with your story in the Long Hunt get a back-drop shot of wild Fjords with evergreen trees or some other picture that reflects the atmosphere of the novel. I’m sure Oregon has some beautiful material for shots that you can use that wouldn’t be to anachronistic for a Danish/Norwegian landscape.
        Anyway that was sort of the best that I could come up with, not sure what you or the other readers/fans of your books will think. In any case I’m looking forward to the release of the Long Hunt and will read it even if you end up putting a dancing pink fairy on the cover ;-)
        Erik

        • Thanks, Eric. At a minimum, your suggestions have inspired me to consider seeing what an artist might charge to replace the current figures with similar ones that are drawn or painted, rather than photoshopped miniatures–although I think the one on the book 3 cover turned out better than the others. The background for the book 4 almost certainly will be an Oregon stand-in for Scandinavia.

          I did look at Cornwell’s UK covers, but to me they seem a bit too generic to convey much of anything.

      • Thank you for asking for your readers feedback on book covers for The Strongbow Saga’s. I much prefer Harper-Collins original covers to the new ones mainly because the covers are dynamic, vivid in color, and communicate a strength of vision for the book./story. That they were perhaps designed to entice young girls never crossed my mind because they are powerful covers. Sadly your new series of covers doesn’t reflect the great storytelling hidden within them, (although Dragons from the Sea is the better of the new series). To my eye the covers don’t appear they were designed by a professional graphic designer.
        They are neither dynamic, strong or visually interesting and hide the jewel of your very talented and imaginative story telling. I appreciate the difficulty of finding “creative” people – so why not think outside the box? What about offering a contest to your readers or the general public to create and submit a book cover for your review in exchange for recognition on your website and cover credits and free future books in the series? They are tons of creative people out there with great imaginations and you just might come up with something good. In addition it will generate good publicity for future books.
        Good luck. And please let me know if this will be the last installment for Halfdan. Thank you. Kate.

        • Thanks Kate–I might just try your suggestion. There would certainly be nothing to lose by it.

          The upcoming book 4, The Long Hunt, will be the second to last book in the Strongbow Saga series, which will end when the conflict between Halfdan and Toke is finally resolved in book 5. However, I do have some ideas for a couple of stand alone novels that would pick up Halfdan’s story again, some years later. Hopefully I’ll get to them.

          • Here’s a few covers I felt that were interesting – I tried to cut and paste the images here but it wouldn’t allow me to “paste”. All of these can be found on Amazon. Thank you.

            #1 – Strong dynamic cover
            Ragnarok: The End of the Gods (Myths) by A.S. Byatt (Feb 7, 2012)

            #2 – Strong dynamic cover
            Note the font for “THOR” .
            OK – visualize this :)).
            Your books title could be in the
            upper black area, with your
            name in the bottom black area
            in red or a stand out color.

            Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Prelude (Thor (Graphic Novels)) by Marvel Comics, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost and Christos Gage (Oct 29, 2013)

            • Continued: Your selected image would be in the middle.
              Both the title and your name “pops” in this type of cover and with a strong simple image this would be a great cover in my opinion.

              #3 Strong Dynamic cover
              The Flatey Enigma [Kindle Edition]
              Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson (Author), Brian FitzGibbon .

              Hope this helps -

  16. Judson I hope someone didn’t already say this and I’m sorry if someone did but I really really think you should contact someone to make a movie on this book! It’s my favorite because it’s action packed, it has great vocabulary, and though I don’t like reading your books make me want to read! Please make a movie!

    • Thanks, Sean. If I had about $100 million to spend, I would. :-) It takes an established producer with a source of funding to get almost any movie project undertaken–they’re horribly expensive. I keep hoping, though!

  17. There was a new show on television here in Australia, about vikings. It doesn’t say where it is, but from the scenery I would believe Norway. On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikings_(TV_series), it says that it is based on the tales of Ragnar Lodbrod. I recommend it, however in Australia it is rated MA 15+, which means it is recommended that you are 15 years or older to watch it. It is set around 743 AD, I think it was. It is actually really interesting and I think you’d maybe like it.

        • By the end of the year. I’ll finish the first draft this week, but finalizing it–rereading, making revisions, getting feedback from my volunteer editors–will take at least another month, if not longer, and then the book will have to be formatted for its e-book and print versions, which will also take at least a month. Producing a book takes time, even after the writing is finished. The big traditional publishers usually take a year to complete that process.

    • I’ve heard it is entertaining, but also that it is full of historical inaccuracies. I’m afraid I’d have a hard time getting past them.

      • Woops, sorry about the double post, I didn’t see this one. Yeah, that’s a shame, I’m not too sure about what is right historically, but yeah that would ruin it a bit. It does however give you a look at just how ruthless and merciless the Vikings were.

  18. Dang! Well keep at it. I’ve bought all of ur books (twice cuz I lost the first set in a move). Is the long hunt going to wrap up the series?

    • I’m planning one more novel in the Strongbow Saga series after The Long Hunt, plus there will be The Beast of Dublin, which takes place before the Strongbow Saga begins. After that…we’ll see what happens.

  19. Dear mr. Roberts
    First of all woop for moving to Oregon it’s awesome here. Second of all when!!! Is the long hunt coming out? I can’t wait! Plz give definite date soon! Oh and keep it wierd.

    • Thanks, Mark. I don’t have any kind of precise date yet. The writing is coming along steadily, albeit–as always–somewhat more slowly than I’d like. Later this year still seems like a safe prediction for when book 4 will come out, but I still can’t be more precise than that.

      Book 4 has a classic three act structure, and I recently finished writing the climactic scene–a sea battle–of act two. The writing process itself can sometimes generate unexpected delays. I start a book with a rough outline of the story in my head, but not infrequently (as happened with the battle scene I’m now wrapping up work on, which ended up taking weeks to write) when I’m in the midst of a part of the story, I realize that my original plan doesn’t work, or doesn’t ring true at all, which means I then have to rethink where the story goes next. That kind of unplanned change obviously can slow progress, but I think the end result is much better than just sticking with a preplanned outline for the sake of speed.

  20. Mr. Roberts,

    I’m hoping you can settle a point of contention between my friend and I. In History Channel’s Vikings, there is a group of female warriors known as shield maidens, who in the show’s mythology, fight alongside the men in the shield wall and go on raids with them. My friend and I disagree on whether this is historically accurate or just political correctness on the show’s part. Aside from expedition intent on settling new lands, did Viking women participate in raids or battle?
    Thanks,
    Rebecca

    • Hello Rebecca,

      I’ve done a LOT of research over many years, and have never come across any indication that in Viking Age Scandinavian society, women ever actually fought in battle as warriors or participated in raids. The term shield-maidens was sometimes used to refer to the Valkyries, supernatural female warriors who served the god Odin and carried the souls of warriors slain in battle to Odin’s feast hall, Valhalla.

      I haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve read a number of articles that indicate that that History Channel show is very historically inaccurate. I even came across an interview of its producer who admitted they weren’t particularly concerned about accuracy, just audience size and ratings.

  21. Mr Roberts,
    I wanted to commend you on the realism and accuracy of your work. I am a student of history, and a 25 year veteran teacher of history as well as being of Norse descent-I have devoted many years of research myself to the subject and through that lens I can honestly say that your work is as accurate and efficient as any fiction I have ever read and indeed better than some that purports to be historical. I very much enjoy your work and look forward to reading more.

    • Thank you very much, Tom. I think the Vikings have gotten a very unfairly bad image both in history and in most portrayals of them in fiction and film. The reality is that they were a fascinating, highly developed, and very important culture. I do a lot of digging in many different kinds of sources to try and present as accurate a portrayal of them as possible.

      • True-Archaeologists have found much more to support the trading aspect of the Vikings(a name they would not necessarily use for themselves) than the raiding. Their big problem was that they tended to raid people who wrote and the Vikings became the victims of bad press for the rest of history. Truly a rich culture, I just finished the road to vengeance cannot wait for the next installment.

        • You’re very right about the use of the term “Vikings,” Tom. Although it’s hard not to use it now because it is the commonly accepted general term for the Scandinavian peoples of the Viking era, from the old sagas, it appears that back then they themselves used the term, if at all, primarily to refer to raiders and/or pirates.

  22. Dear Mr.Roberts,
    Have you considered using the fact that bows were considered less honorable than melee weapons in the viking culture to incite challengers for the praise he has been given by his superiors? As they were very wary of an opposition in a political nature it seems as if this would become a great issue, and that those around him would use anything they could to hinder his quest.
    Thank you.

    • Daniel,

      I have read many, many of the old Viking sagas for the insights they give into the Vikings’ culture and attitudes. I have not come across anything in them that would reflect that they felt killing from a distance with a bow was in any way less honorable than with hand combat weapons. The Vikings esteemed any kind of exceptional weapons skill, and there are accounts of even kings using bows in combat. The Vikings were a very practical people.

      The kind of attitude you suggest would have existed much later, during the Middle Ages when archers were typically commoners, and the elite warriors were knights, and considered to be in a higher, more noble class.

  23. Hello everyone and Mr. Roberts,
    I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but the history channel has a series called Vikings. It’s really good, but what’s cool is that it’s centered around a character called Ragnar Lodbrok. I think he becomes the warking Ragnar from the book since they are both famous for their sacking of England. He even has a son called Bjorn! If they are one and the same, this could present an opportunity to televise your books. This is just a suggestion.
    Anyways keep up the good work.
    Kris10

    • HI Kristen,

      Thanks for giving folks a heads up about that series. I have not watched it myself–I don’t have TV service–but from what I’ve read, it is both popular with its audience, and riddled with historical inaccuracies (which means I probably will not try to watch it via Netflix–I get frustrated by bad film portrayals of the Vikings). However, at least it is generating a lot of interest in the Vikings.

      And from what I’ve read, the Ragnar and his son Bjorn in the show are very loosely based on the actual Viking characters who also figure in the Strongbow Saga.

  24. Hello Mr. Judson,
    I just read the April post, and I was wondering what would be considered a long journey and a short journey? Furthermore, you mentioned that a crew of 50 for a ship the size of the Gull would be too much, but what do you think would be the ideal crew size? I want to say 40, but I’m not sure what the death rate at sea is (I’m assuming it is low since Vikings had a lot of experience, but then again I’m not sure how advance medicine was and I remember reading that sometimes on a pirate ship the doctor and the cook were the same people which leads me to wonder if it is the same on a Viking ship?) Furthermore, what was usually done for fun on these voyages? Fishing, gambling, test of strengths?

    You are an amazing author and seeing all the research you put into writing really makes me appreciate it a lot more. I’m the type of person where when I get hooked onto something I start to research everything about it. I’m also amazed that you personally answer to all the comments you get on the website, even if it is only to say thank you. It makes me happy to know that you care for your fans.

    • Some great questions–thanks! A short journey would be just a few days, so that only minimal provisions would be required. Longer journeys would take weeks, and in some cases, months or years, although journeys that long would require many stops to replenish stores. For example, the historical Hastein and Bjorn Ironsides once led a several year voyage into the Mediterranean, and raided all the way to Italy.

      Regarding crew size, a ship with fifteen pairs of oars would need at least thirty men just to row them. Additional men would be needed to steer, keep watch, and work the sail when the ship was in the process of transitioning from oars to sail. It’s just an educated guess, but I think that balancing the amount of deck space that would be available on a ship carrying significant provisions and/or cargo, with the number of men needed to run the ship, a crew of about 40 was probably a reasonable number.

      Based on original saga descriptions of sea voyages, the death rate at sea seemed to have been minimal, unless a ship was lost in a storm, killing most or all of its crew. Losses were much more likely to happen once the ship and its crew made landfall, particularly if they were raiding.

      I’ve found no information that addresses how the crews entertained themselves during pare time on a sea voyage, but the things you suggest, plus storytelling, seem likely.

      Thanks for writing!

  25. Mr. Roberts,

    I found your series on Amazon about a year and a half ago and am a very big
    fan of it! I’m a thirteen year old living in the Los Angeles area and have an excessive
    interest in the Vikings (you don’t know how many times my mother has told me to stop chattering about Viking laws and customs at the dinner table). I’ve recently started to read Icelandic sagas and love how you incorporate Viking-Age Scandinavian culture
    into your literature. I can’t wait to see Halfdan Hroriksson return in book four. Good job and keep up the good work!

    • I have just completed the 3 novels plus the abdstract of The VBeast of Dublin.
      May I say how wonderful your novels are, Clearly well researched
      I am a Bernard Cornwell follower. You now have me as a follower
      Can’t wait for the next production
      Would like to value add to the Beast if you have time
      Truly great to see your imagination and knowledge come to print
      Cheers
      Howard Riach, Queensland ,Australia

  26. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that you have three generations of our family hooked on your series. I found your book on Amazon while searching for a gift for my father. He quickly ordered the following books and passed the series on to me to read. Each night I would read, and then in the morning would retell what I had read to my eight year old son. It has been so fun experiencing Halfdan’s adventures with both my dad and my son. We all love your work and look forward to book 4.
    ~Lori (Arne and Ryan, too!)

  27. Hey Mr. Judson,

    i was wondering if you are planning on making this into a movie? I think that would be awesome. I already posted here but i just wanted to ask you that question. I still absolutely love your books and am reading them again for the 8th (hmmm maybe 9th) time.

    Thanks for the great books… i am literally waiting for the next book with anxiety, that how much i want to read it.

    • Thanks for writing, Nolan. I would love to see the Strongbow Saga become a movie (or probably several movies), and I think in the right hands, it could be a great one. However, it costs millions of dollars to make a movie. Someone in the film industry–a producer or influential director–would need to become aware of the story and want to turn it into a film, then they would have to line up financial backing, before the process could even be contemplated. So far, that obviously has not happened.

      • Hi Mr. Roberts. I am a twelve year old boy named Jackson, I have loved all of your books. I suggested to my father, who is a writer and producer, that he should turn them into a series of movies! I cant wait to read the next book. Thank you for being the extraordinary author that you are. Best wishes on your next book.
        Jackson

  28. Hello Judson

    I love historical fiction and I came across your books on Amazon by chance and have read them all in a matter of three weeks. You are an amazing storyteller and I am very impressed with the detail of description you give in your tale. It’s like your an expert tracker, archer or warrior yourself. This makes your books high quality reading material and I think the Strongbow story makes for an awesome movie!!

    I hope you won’t take too terribly long with the fourth book, because I read all five of Martin’s Game of Thrones books (and about six thousand pages worth) and he’s not even half way way through the story and it looks like it’ll be a decade before he finishes them. Who will remember (or care) by then???

    One more recommendation for people while they wait, oldie but goodie: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.

    Kudos to you, sir!

    • Thanks, Maria. As my most recent post below in this thread explains, I’m planning on getting book 4 out this year.

  29. Judson,

    I am a little behind on your updates and I was wondering where The Beast of Dublin now fits into your plans? Have you decided to focus on Halfdan’s story instead or as well as? Only curious, and really looking forward to continuing Haldfan’s journey.

    • Good question, Joann. After I finish book 4–and it’s currently chugging along quite well–I plan to complete The Beast of Dublin, because a character introduced in it, Conall, will play a role in book 5, the final book in the Strongbow Saga series. My tentative/hopeful long range schedule is to get book 4, The Long Hunt, out this year, The Beast of Dublin out in 2014, and book 5 out in 2015 or 2016.

  30. Hi! I just love these books to pieces. I love how it’s in first person and how easy it is to connect to the characters in the story. Great work. And after the preview for the 4th book, I really can’t wait for it to come out. So many questions left unanswered, will Halfdan and Genevieve get back together, what role will his sister play in his life as a Viking warrior, how will he treat the woman that married his father? And I’m just awed by mr. Roberts passion, to not only tell a story but to tell a story based on facts and not a stereotype. Thank you so much for bringing me a piece of my heritage to me.

  31. Hey Mr. Roberts, so I’ve really been looking online and can’t find a projected date for the release of book 4. I really appreciate the preview of “The Long Hunt” (sorta a tease though) I found some down time between my studies at college and started reading your books again and I had forgotten how good they are! I was just wondering if you had a projected release date is all? thanks!

    • I can’t provide a date yet, because book 4 is not finished. However, it’s progressing steadily–though never as quickly as I’d like–so I believe it’s still on track to come out this year. Just keep watching this site for announcements (and you can subscribe, on the home page, to receive my posts there automatically).

  32. I have a question about the 4th book and how it will begin. I am in fact not asking for the first chapter because I have already noticed that you have posted a free preview, however, my question is since the last book came out 4 years ago, will there be a prologue at the beginning of the 4th book so that we can catch up with the series since the last time I read these fantastic books was in high school and I am now a college student? Thank you for writing such detailed and inspiring novels, I appreciate your work.

    • That is an interesting question and idea, Chase. However, there will not be any kind of prologue in book 4. In future years, after the series is complete, it would not make sense to have one, although I can understand your point about wanting to catch up quickly given that it has been so long since book 3 was published. I will keep your idea in mind, and will consider putting some kind of short summary of the story to date on my website, when book 4 is released. Thank you.

  33. Nice to hear your book is coming along! I was watching the new Viking TV series on the History Channel and was delighted to discover the main character is Ragnar. I hope this connection will drum up more interest in your books. I can’t wait to read the rest of Halfdan’s story.

  34. I first found this series while browsing through Books-A-Million and sat down to read the first book while I waited for my mother to pick me up. I didn’t have the money on me at that time to purchase the book so I went back once a week every week for a month until I had the money to buy the book. After that it took me the rest of that day and part of the next to finish Viking Warrior. I couldn’t put it down. After that I waited anxiously for the next book to come out. After each book came out I was there usually by the next day to get the next book. At the moment I am eagerly waiting for the fourth book to come out, and have been regularly checking to see if there had been any updates on the release date for it. And while the series may be marked as a young adult book there is not a single person who I have shared it with young or old who hasn’t loved the books and they are also eagerly waiting for the installment in this particular set.
    Thank you for a great read,
    Hannah

    • I have been listening to books 1 & 2 on audio books from our library for the blind. Book 3 isn’t on audio dang it, so I had to get it in print & use my magnification to read it. I just started the series last month. I can’t wait for the 4th book to come out & I wish they would put book 3 &4 on audio too.

        • How can I get your books on audio? I am an avid user of an audiobook website. Martha said she has listened to 1 & 2 already, but I cannot find any of them.

          • Brian, I’m afraid there currently are no commercially available versions on audio (at least none that I’m aware of). The audio versions that some have referred to are, as far as I know, versions that were created for the blind or visually impaired, I believe by the Library of Congress.

  35. Hi Judson,

    I bought the three books of the Strongbow saga a couple of months ago – I’m a big fan of historical novels of this period and Arthurian times – it’s taken me a couple of months to find the time to sit down and read them, but have just completed reading all 3 books, in 4 days, whilst on a short break to Reykjavic (very appropriate, don’t you think!) – I couldn’t put them down, and probably missed most of the points of interest on the Golden Circle tour, but there you go – totally absorbing, and no ‘dead’ passages where nothing much happened, just cover to cover (or, in this case, button to button) action – it totally took me over and I genuinely couldn’t put my kindle down, much to my wife’s annoyance. I’m totally depressed that I’ve got to wait for the fourth instalment, but will relish getting my hands on it as soon as it is published – any idea as to when that might be ?? I’m also very glad that you’ve left so much scope for further books in the series, and I look forward to reading the further adventures of Halfdan, the fourteenth book in the series, in about ten years time!!

    Thank you so much, and please keep on writing them.

    Best regards,

    Mark

    • I hope they do a decent job. Although Ragnar Logbrod was almost certainly a historical Viking chieftain (there are some historians who question whether he was a real person), and his sons Bjorn and Ivar certainly existed, there also were very some very obviously fanciful, fantasy stories told about him that date back to Viking times, which have survived. If those are the focus of the series, it could be not so good–the sort of Hollywood treatment that furthers inaccuracies about the Vikings and their culture.

  36. I’ve enjoyed your work andam anxiously waiting for the next installment. While I’m waiting, who would you recommend as an author to pass the time with?

    • A somewhat older novel set during the Viking era, which I think is very good, is “The Long Ships” by Frans Bengtsson. It’s a single, stand-alone novel, not part of a series, but it does a good job of portraying the Vikings, and telling a good story.

      Bernard Cornwell writes a number of historical fiction series set during different time periods. My favorite is his Richard Sharpe series, set during the Napoleanic Wars. He also has a series set during the Viking time period that is very popular and successful. While I don’t necessarily agree with some of Cornwell’s portrayal of Viking society and culture, he’s an excellent writer and story-teller.

      Richard Clavell was an excellent writer of historical fiction, who wrote a number of books set in the far east. His novel “Shogun,” set in medieval Japan, has been one of all-time my top favorites ever since I first read it decades ago.

      If you like historical mysteries, I strongly recommend two set during the Roman time period: Lindsey Davis’ Marcus Didius Falco series (the first book is “The Silver Pigs”), and John Maddox Roberts’ “SPQR” series.

      And if you have not read Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” by all means give it a try. While it is in the fantasy genre, Tolkien was an expert on Norse and Anglo-Saxon culture, and drew heavily on that knowledge and history when creating his world. The Riders of Rohan, except for the fact that they are horsemen rather than ocean-going, are actually a pretty good representation of Viking culture and society.

  37. Mr. Roberts,

    I have been a fan from the beginning. When the first book came out, I was 14. After I read the first book, I was instantly hooked. Now while this may have led to waiting a number of years for the fourth book to come out, I know it will be well worth the wait. I love this series more than most I have read.I have read the Harry Potter series and while I enjoyed them, I want your next book to come out much more than I did while waiting for Harry Potter.

    I would also like to compliment you on your writing style. I am no author and therefore cannot say what aspect of you writing that has drawn me in, but I am kept begging for more. Also, I would like to say that while these books may be labelled for young adults, I would consider this to be an injustice. While Halfdan may be only 15, this story is written so I have continued to love it into my adult years. I am sure I am not the only one who would say that it will be very sad when the series ends. I can only hope that you will continue to write afterwords.

    I have read something about a sub-plot about Halfdan and his role as a possible chieftain? Well, I would also be interested in him captaining a ship or some such super awesome thing like that. I would love to see him leading more, especially as he lead only briefly in book 3.

    Awaiting “The long Hunt”

    Jacob

    • Mr. Robert – HUGE HUGE fan… i started picking up The Strongbow Saga when i was around 15 or so… i understand that there’s a 4th book in the making???? this is fantastic news for me you see, i have read the first three books numerious times over and had at least 6 different friends reading it as well. i am 22 now and happy to say because of your amazing art of storytelling i had purchased a bow of my own and taught myself to shoot, still learning how to craft my own arrows though. anyway long story short a have the ut most respect for you and how you have crafted an addiction both for viking mythology, the art of archery, and your beloved character Halfdan.
      May the White Christ and the All Father Odin smile on you -
      Josh

      • Thanks, Josh. That’s great that you’ve taken up archery. A company called 3Rivers Archery sells arrow-making supplies–you might check them out. When I make Medieval/Viking style arrows, which tended to be heavier than modern arrows (the extra weight helped with armor penetration), I use oak dowels to use as the shafts. They’re also more resistant to breaking than the lighter cedar used in most wooden shafts today.

  38. Hi there

    I was just wondering what the differences were between Halfdan and other free men(as in their rank in society). Since Halfdan claimed his birthright as a chieftains son, does he have more claim over free men in society, like a prince would? would he be ranked over the members in the crew, and is seeked out as a leader like Harald was sort of? or is it simply his age that stops this?
    Ive been reading the posts, and i also like the fact he has a beard, and that he should be getting haralds and his fathers old clothing weapons, valuables and such.
    thanks very much Mr. Roberts!
    Chord

    • Hello Chord, thanks for writing, and thanks for your questions. In fact, I’d like to mention here that I very much appreciate all of the questions readers ask. They really help highlight issues in the story that sometimes I have not given enough thought to.

      For example, thinking about questions I’ve received about how Halfdan will be received by the people of the estate, will he become their chieftain, etc., I realized I had not thought that issue out deeply enough–I’d been focusing more on some of the bigger plot lines in the story. In Halfdan’s case, his status is complicated. On the one hand, he has gained renown as a warrior, and considerable wealth, during the campaign in Frankia. And as you point out, he is a chieftain’s son. But on the other hand, he’s also a former slave. While that might not matter so much in some circles, where he’d be judged primarily by his actions and achievements, it would be harder for the warriors of the estate to overlook. It would be one thing for them to accept him as the brother of their chieftain, but another to accept him as their leader, when he once was a slave within that very household.

      This issue has actually grown into a significant sub-plot in book 4, so I don’t want to give any more away about it at this time. But again, to all who’ve asked questions about this aspect, thank you–you’ve helped shape and enrich Halfdan’s story.

      Judson

  39. Hey Jud — Long time fan, just found out you had a website. Very excited to find even with the delays that we can expect the book sometime soon

    Will we get to see Halfdan blacksmithing more in the next book? Or naming his sword like Harald did?
    I also just wanted to mention I liked the fact Halfdan has a beard! Will he be turning 16 soon?

    Thanks for all your work!

    • Thanks, Jack.

      I don’t currently plan to have Halfdan do any blacksmithing in book 4, but there’s a lot of the book left to write, and sometimes details become appropriate as the story develops. We’ll see what happens.

      Re: Halfdan turning 16, I guess that will happen during the course of book 4. Book 1 begins early in the year of 845, in the waning weeks of winter, well after the Jul feast, which would take place around the winter solstice–i.e., around the time we celebrate Christmas today. Halfdan’s training and his flight down Jutland occur over the last weeks of winter and into early spring. The Frankia campaign in books 2 and 3 takes place over the late spring and summer of 845, and by the time Halfdan returns to Denmark, when book 4 begins, it is early autumn (he had a busy year!). The story in book 4 will last at least into the spring of 846, so he will turn 16 during the course of that installment of the story.

      Incidentally, I’ve noticed in a few reviews of the series that some readers find it unbelievable that someone so young might be able to do what Halfdan does in the story–he has been accused of being somewhat of a teenaged superman. Plausibility of the story as I’ve told it aside (that’s a separate issue), in fact there are historical accounts in some of the old Viking sagas of young men no older than Halfdan being captains of ships and their crews, and in a few instances, even leading armies. Such young warriors were exceptional, of course, rather than the norm, and such warriors in the sagas were generally members of noble or royal families, so would have had access to training, arms and armor, and followers by virtue of their position and upbringing. Nevertheless, there were young men who became very notable warriors in their mid-teens. It’s also important to remember that back during this time period, young people, both male and female, were considered to have reached adulthood at a much earlier age than we, in modern cultures, mark the transition from child to adult.

      In telling Halfdan’s story, I try very hard to not only portray the historical facts and the Vikings’ culture as accurately as possible, but also to make Halfdan a plausible, if somewhat exceptional. character. To that end, nothing that he does is beyond the range of what actual Vikings, in some cases quite young ones, actually did, according to accounts in the various old sagas.

      Back to writing book 4!

      Judson

      • ” I’ve noticed in a few reviews of the series that some readers find it unbelievable that someone so young might be able to do what Halfdan does in the story.”
        I feel like, in some aspects, they’re right.
        Halfdan is not only one of the best archers in Scandinavian (possibly the world), but also an adept fletcher, blacksmith, woodsman and skilled warrior. This last part is most notable to me, because he only receives approximately a month’s training, yet he is able to defeat more skilled warriors like Snorre who had a decade or more of training, and decades of experience.

        I would like to see some more weakness from Halfdan, because he seems rather unbalanced at the moment.

  40. Here is a book that “Strongbow” fans can read while waiting. This is a book written in the 1950′s by Poul Anderson called “The Broken Sword”. It’s about a Viking who has a curse put on him by an old woman whose family was killed by this Viking. The curse was that the Viking’s first-born son would be raised away from men and he would foster a son who would kill him. Then comes the fantasy element…an elf steals the Viking’s newborn son and switches in his place a half elf/ half troll child (who looks human). This book is not as great as the Strongbow ones but it will kill time until we get the new one.

    • Thanks, Melissa, and what a great idea to suggest other books here. A really good Viking-era historical novel I highly recommend is “The Long Ships,” by Frans Bengtsson. It’s my own favorite fiction work about the Vikings (after the Strongbow Saga, of course ;-)

  41. Hello Judson just read your first book very enjoyable.I had read a lot of viking fiction recently the raven bloodeye books are highly recomded,when finished them went looking for new series stumbled across yours on g reads ,but had awful trouble sourcing it here in Ireland/ europe .wondering why its so diffucult to get them this side of the alantic?

    • Hello Peter,

      Thanks for posting, and I’m sorry to hear the books are difficult to get in Ireland. Since I parted ways with HarperCollins, the original publisher of the series, Amazon is the series’ primary distributor in the U.S. and currently the only one overseas, although in the U.S., other bookstores and vendors can order the print editions directly from CreateSpace, the company (which actually is a subsidiary owned by Amazon) that prints them for me.

      I know Amazon does distribute both the print and Kindle editions of the books in their various European online stores, including the UK, France, etc. I don’t believe they have an independent Ireland division set up, yet–from Ireland, can you order from Amazon UK? If it’s the print versions you’re interested in, I would think Irish bookstores could special order them for you, as the print company, CreateSpace, earlier this year set up printing and distribution centers in Europe.

      By next year, I plan to also expand e-book distribution to Kobo, which I believe is available in Europe, and to re-establish them with Barnes & Noble, which has begun selling its Nook e-books this year in the UK as well as the US. I also plan to explore having the books translated–initially into French–and making e-book and print editions available in that language, as well as in English.

  42. Read all three books in middle school and have been anxiously waiting for 4 years for the fourth book to come out! Can’t wait until Spring! Hope there are no more delays. Also best of wishes to you Mr. and Mrs. Roberts in your new life.

  43. Mr. Roberts,

    Hello! I am an aspiring writer myself. I came into the series just last week after discovering Viking Warrior on Prime. Typically speaking, I read a lot but when I have finished a book by a particular author or in a series I have to put the author or series down for a time and move on to another book in order to keep from getting burnt out on the style or characters.

    Your stories about Halfdan are the first time in a very long time I’ve not had that issue. After completing Viking Warrior, I immediately purchased Dragons from the Sea – and felt the ending came far too soon. As soon as I can muster together the money I plan on purchasing the next book, and I am eagerly chomping at the bits just to see what happens to Halfdan – and Genevive – next.

    Thank you for providing an entertaining tale with a keen eye for historicity.

  44. Mr Roberts,
    I am currently deployed on a US Navy ship, during my free time I enjoy reading on my kindle. In the past have really only read westerns, usually Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. I have only recently started to read more historical ficition. I discovered your books browsing the historical fiction in the amazon kindle store. I have recently read the 3 books of the strongbow series. I really enjoyed them. It took me a week to read all 3 books; I couldnt put them down. I put off checking your website until I finished the 3 books. I didnt want to have any spoilers. I am really looking forward to the 4th book now. I plan to purchase it for my kindle as soon as possible.

  45. Hi Judson

    I am sure i speak for every single one of you loyal readers in saying that we would all rather wait until the book was ready than to rush you.
    Glad to hear all is well.
    :)

    • Mr. Roberts plans for a release this year, but that is only if he is able to finish it. If you have any suggestion for the fourth book, feel free to leave them here.

  46. Hope everything is okay…we have not had a message in 60 days. I t;hink this is the longest we have gone without something new.

    • Thank you for asking, Melissa. I’m touched by and very appreciative of your concern. I’m fine, but have been totally overwhelmed recently with far too much more to do than I have time for, so I’m running very behind on everything–including posting here and, unfortunately, my writing. I’ll try to post a status update on book 4 very soon.

      • Judson- What about hiring a ghost writer? That way even if you’re busy, readers can still get the book within the next couple of months here. I mean absolutely no offense, but I’ve been waiting something that feels like 4-5 years here.

        • So I should sacrifice the integrity of the series because you’ve been waiting four or five years? I don’t think so. Some things are worth waiting for. :-)

  47. I just want to say that the Strongbow saga are definitely some of my favourite books. Thank you so much for keeping the series going and giving me such an amazing story to get lost in.

  48. First of, as many others have said, the Strongbow Saga is quite phenomenal. I read then a few years ago and enjoyed them at that point, and resently reread then after seeing the the next of the series was planned to be released in the coming months. My only quibble would be that they lack more detail and are t short, but I digress.
    I for one will not pester you for a specific release date as that question has been answered many times over, and I also understand that, as a writer, you would like to make the story as enjoyable and factual as possible for your audiance. Instead, I would like to thank you for sticking with your writing despite the lack of due credit it has recieved. As for myself, I beleive that this storyline could be made into a wonderful movie with the right director and hope that in time it has such an oppertunity if you would like to take your seires down that path. For now I just hope that some how it will be revealed as the enjoyable plot it is to other young adult audiences.
    With the release of the begining chapter of the forth book, I was excited to see that more progress has been made in terms of the search for Toke, as well as Halfdan’s return to his rightful home. Truth be told, while away for the books original characters, save for our narrator, I made guess as to what may have happened to them and one of the guess I made was that upon returning Toke may have forcefully married Sigrid in order to have more of a claim to Hrorik’s lands. Now, however, I see that such a thing no longer matters as he is aware that the danish officials know of his treachery and has seemed to be on a run of sorts and cannot safely lay such a claim over them.
    Oh well, your plans for this tale will soon be know to us and I look forward to that day. Thanks for the ejoyable read so far, it was a nice break from A song of Ice and Fire.

  49. This is an open letter to all viewers of this site. Read through the posts and see how MANY times people are asking when the next book is coming out. Judson Roberts has already answered over and over again. There is no reason why EVERYBODY has to ask the question again. I am looking forward to the book as much as the next person but please stop asking the SAME QUESTIONS. There, I got it off my chest and I feel better.

      • You literally have to scroll to the bottom of the page to create a new comment, so I’m slightly shocked people haven’t read some of the other questions… However Judson, I think we all wish that your answer will be ‘tomorrow’ instead of a few months ;)

        To add to my own list of previous questions… Will there be more looting scenes in the next book, or since he does have a mass of wealth, any bartering for supplies or trinkets?

        • Book 4 is going to be somewhat darker. Probably less looting, more killing. And tomorrow? I’m glad you want that, but it’s way beyond my abilities. I’ve been kind of sick lately, which slows things down a bit.

  50. Hello my name is Luis, but you can probably tell. I’m not sure if you know a teacher named Mr.Pierce he told me you sent us these little medals.Well anyways I love your books…. I barely finished the 3rd book and I was wondering when the 4th book will come out :).

  51. I am wondering whether or not Halfdan (at some stage) will be avenging his father’s death? Seems to me there is a score to be settled there too :)

    • An interesting idea that had not occurred to me–although Halfdan was not fond of his father, and if the English had not mortally wounded Hrorik, Halfdan would still be a slave. ;-)

  52. I stumbled upon and just love the ‘Strongbow’ series. I’ve read all three in a matter of a couple of weeks. I believe my 16 year old grandson will also like the books. When can I hope to see book four? I can hardly wait!

    Love Viking lore your writings are most enjoyable!

    Thanks,

    Dennis

  53. First off, I would like to say that I am a huge fan! You are always posting about your books being available for the kindle, but for those of us who chose to go with a Nook, are your books available as an ebook for the Nook?

    • Hello Sarah, and thanks for your question.

      The short answer to your question is yes. The Strongbow Saga books have in the past been available on the Nook, and they will be again. I recently incorporated my new imprint, Northman Books, Inc., under which the new, post-HarperCollins editions of the series are being published. The longer answer: Barnes & Noble is a difficult and inefficient company for an author or small business to work with, compared to Amazon. The roadblocks B&N creates have delayed the Nook versions becoming again available, but eventually they will be.

  54. Just curious, but in your research on Vikings did you have a chance to read Ahmad ibn-Fadlan’s letters recounting his experience with Vikings on the Volga River? I’m fascinated that in addition to the well know European voyages, the Vikings traveled throughout the river systems of Eastern Europe and followed them all the way to modern day Turkey where they traded with the Arab caliphate and the Byzantine Empire. Will the series take us in this direction or stay focused on Western Europe?

  55. yes i did read the vikings series of bernard cornwell. i was looking into the sharpe one but then i forgot about them so yes i will try to read them. i did also read the lord of the rings. thank you for the good books you have been writing!! they are great!

  56. hi judson. i absolutely love your books. in my little (actually kinda big) town i am famous among my freinds, library, and school that i read alot. i have read most sereis you could think of for a 13year old, and probably more. i was wondering if you had any suggestions about a sereies to read that is like the faintest like yours because that would mean it would be a great book. though it needs alot of action. not like the viking 1, viking 2, and viking3 series has. of all the books i like your the most by far. and so is there any update on when the book is going to come out like 3-6months? KEEP WRITING BECAUSE I LOVE ALL YOUR BOOKS (including beast of dublin)!!!!!!!!!

    • Hi Nolan,

      Thanks for writing. Re: other books to read, you’ve probably already read it, but The Lord of the Rings is a favorite of mine. The author Bernard Cornwell writes a number of historical fictions series–my favorite is the Richard Sharpe series set during the Napoleanic Wars, but he also writes a Viking series (I don’t completely agree with his view of the Vikings and their culture, but he’s a terrific writer). And although it’s not a series, a very good stand-alone novel about the Vikings is The Long Ships, by Frans Bengtsson.

      • Odd that my first post here is a reply, but when I saw the recommendations I had to comment. The Long Ships is excellent and for anyone interested in Viking culture and history I would rank it as the first historical novel to read on the subject. Cornwell’s Viking Series is entertaining, and I’ve read them all and look forward to the next one, but I agree that they do not do a good job of depicting Viking culture and tend to perpetuate Viking stereotypes. It’s a good series if you want some insight into English history. The early, from a publication standpoint, Sharpe novels are excellent. Having said that there are a lot of Norse/Viking novels out there, but this series by Mr. Roberts is by far the best I have read on the subject both in terms of historical accuracy and writing style.

        For the record, I am one of those older adults who stumbled on the series by accident after a cast member at the Norse Pavilion in Disney’s Epcot theme park recommended it. I downloaded the books to my kindle from Amazon and devoured them in short order. Unfortunately, that also makes me one of those fans that have been waiting with increasing impatience, but much understanding, for the 4th novel.

  57. I was wondering maybe in the fourth book if you will get into halfdan relatives on his mother side. I was really hoping i would get to read more about her and her family before she died.

    • I’m afraid the fourth book won’t have anything like that. Book 4 is set in Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. However, book 5 will be partially set in Ireland, so it’s possible–not promising anything–I could work something in there.

      • Hi Mr Roberts,
        I’m happy to read that Halfdan is going to Sweden, when it is my home land. =) the first time I read you book I was an aupair in Philladelpia year 2006, so far I LOVE your books and reread them several times, thank you so much.
        Can’t wait for book 4 and 5.

        greetings from cold sweden and a true Viking girl =)

        • Thanks, Jessica. Halfdan is on his way to Birka now (i.e., that’s where I currently am in the story). He’ll meet up with several interesting historical characters there, before heading south into Russia.

    • I have also been waiting to see if halfdan will get to see any of his mothers family and think that it could add something very fun to the story.

  58. Hi Judson I absolutely cant wait to read your next book in the series, ive read the other books now probably 10 times each since I got them so many years ago. Im kinda like all the other stories on here, of not liking reading when i was younger guy and deciding to read your book, and having a huge passion for them. your books have encouraged me to continue reading and now am taking my set of your books to college with me this fall!

    I just have some question/requests that I’ve always wondered about in the stories, and I would be super thrilled if you wouldn’t mind answering. some are kinda dumb sorry haha
    -After Halfdan took the armour from Leonidas, what did he do with his original helmet, jerkin, and shield?
    - Awesome Halfdan has a beard!!!! Keep mentioning it
    -Will Halfdan be like the next leader of the Estate now (like his dad, then Harald, now him since he’s back?)
    -super un-important but what will happen with all of haralds old clothing and weapons he left at the estate, does halfdan get them? he kinda needs more then one pair of clothes and stuff… again unimportant though
    -I like that you added he took the arrowheads, but was wondering what else halfdan looted from Frankia, like from the church scene
    -okay with ten pounds of silver, the gold armband, the silver drinking horn, all the armour he got, im sorry to ask blatantly but is he kinda a rich viking now? was he paid strictly with coins or rings/jewellery or what?

    thanks again Judson! sorry for so many silly questions haha!

    • Hello Ryan,

      Your questions aren’t silly at all. Let me answer them.

      After Halfdan took the armor from Leonidas, he kept his old leather jerkin, shield, and helm. The jerkin, a lighter, less effective form of armor than a mail shirt, could still provide more protection than no armor at all, and would give Halfdan some options to choose between for armor, depending on the type of situation he might be facing. On a fast-moving scouting mission, for example, a heavy mail shirt would not be practical. Keeping both helms would be for similar reasons: the Frankish cavalry helm, particularly one belonging to a nobleman, would likely have side and back pieces attached to provide cheek and neck protection. There might be occasions when Halfdan would prefer to wear a simpler, lighter-weight helm, even though it offered less protection. And as for the shield, to keep them light enough to be practical, shields were constructed out of fairly thin wood, so they could be damaged or destroyed over time (as happened to Halfdan’s shield in the duel at the end of book 3). For that reason, it would only make sense for a warrior to have more than one shield, if possible.

      Re: whether Halfdan will become the next leader of the estate, a number of other readers have also asked that. That issue actually comes up in the early chapters of book 4. I don’t want to give too much away, but I may make a post soon on this site’s homepage that gives a peek or two into that aspect of the story, so watch for the answer there.

      Clever idea about Harald’s old clothing. I honestly had not thought about that at all, but now that you bring it up, I’ll incorporate that into the story.

      Halfdan did loot a few items from the altar of the chapel in the Abbey of Saint Genevieve in Paris (Genevieve would NOT have approved, had she known). He’ll use them in book 4. And yes, Halfdan would be relatively well-to-do for a Viking, due to having a fairly significant amount of silver (the ransom, and his share of the Paris ransom, would both have been paid in Frankish silver coins), the few looted items, good armor and weapons, and especially the gold torque armband. Not super wealthy, but more so than, for instance, the housecarls of the estate back in Denmark.

      • WOW THANKS!!!! Again I cant tell you how much your books have meant to me over the years! They truly gave me a passion for reading again.

        Ohhhhh. I totally get the armour differences now. I never read that Halfdan was picking either the wood shield, or leonidas’s metal shield, so wondered if he had just gotten rid of the original armour not needing it. Wow his sea-chest must have been pretty darn heavy by the time he was done in Frankia!

        I kinda got the idea from some of the other readers (How they wanted more details about the clothing and blacksmithing in those times) and I was thinking that maybe Harald and his father had left him with the clothing and weapons and such! Awesome I can’t believe something I suggested might possibly go in!

        Whatever happened to the other voyage that the King of the Danes was going on? Were they as successful at their quest as Ragnar was?

        THANKS!!!!

        • King Horik’s voyage was, like the attack up the Seine River, also an actual, historical Viking attack. That army captured and burned the city of Hamburg, which the Franks had used in the past as a jumping-off point for attacking Denmark.

  59. I first want to make clear that I rarely read. I just graduated High School here in New Jersey, and I was the typical rowdy athlete. I played lots of video games and messed around a lot. But i few years ago, I came across Viking Warrior while I was in Bar Harbor, Maine on a family vacation. I decided to read it. Once I finished, I was shocked with how enveloped i could become while reading a story. I absolutely fell in love with the series, and have read all 3 books countless times. I’m about the read the preview for chapter 4! I cannot wait for the next two books to be published.

  60. Read and re-read the first 3 awesome books. Keep up the good work and I hope you really bring it with the 4th and 5th books. Needless to say you’re really milking the suspense on the 4th, but no matter; I’m sure it’s worth the wait.

    Greetings from Guyana.

    • I’m really not trying to milk the suspense. A lot of readers have been waiting a long time for the next book. I feel bad about that, and am trying to give them what I can, until book 4 is finished.

  61. Oh my god, I love your books! I was in the library and just happen to pass by it and oh my god, I’m so happy I picked the first volume up! When i finished reading i couldn’t wait to go back to the library for the 2nd and 3rd so please (I’m begging you :’( ) publish the 4th!

  62. After looking at your pictures of the view at your new house and other places in Oregon, it sort of reminds me of both how I pictured Denmark in the story and also Tasmania, which is sort of like the Alaska of Australia.

    • I have not been able to visit Scandinavia yet, although some day I will. But from what I know from long distance research, Denmark seems to be mostly pretty flat. I think Oregon may most closely resemble Sweden, of all the Scandinavian countries.

      Thanks for all of your comments here. The discussion has been lively!

      • I’m glad you feel it’s lively :)

        Anyway, I’ve also never been to Scandinavia, apart from a 6 hour stop over on my way to Iceland, but it does have many, many islands. I would really love to visit Scandinavia one day as well.

    • First of all welcome to the willamette valley..
      I’ve live here much of my life and understand why you appreciate it I just came across the Halfdan Series a week ago.. All devoured and wanting more :-) Are you familiar with bernard cornwell nd the saxon stories? I think he’s on book 5 now but not sure. Very similar time frame.. But from a british point of view. Uhtred and Halfdan have much in common and I have enjoyed those books also .. thank you for your research hard work and great stories. Mike

      • Thanks. I so love it here. Went to the Oregon Country Fair today–that was quite an experience!

        I love Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe series, and a talk I heard him give back around 2001 actually inspired me to write the Strongbow Saga. But our vision of the Vikings and their culture is somewhat different.

  63. Has anyone here realized that Halfdan’s half-sister Sigrid is still at home while all this (death of Harald, Halfdan in Frankia, and a million other things) is happening? I wonder what will happen to her once Halfdan gets home. Will she know all this happened? Awkward for her because Tore might have already have kidnapped her :o

    • Yeah, I’ve thought about Sigred too. Even if she doesn’t know everything that is happening Haldan it’s still bad enough to be with her Step-Mother. Her Step-Mom is not the nicest person to deal with.

      • I know right! She would probably be one of the last people in the world I would want my step-mum to be.

        Speaking of her family, what about that old Toke guy. Do you reckon he has stolen her and cause Halfdan even more troubles? Can’t wait for the next book in the series.
        By the way if your interested in Scandinavian based books, I have started reading Kristin Lavransdatter. It is based in Norway but so far it is pretty boring compared to “The Strongbow Saga”.

        • I remember that Sigrid’s father promised that she could marry for love and not have an arranged marriage. I fear that Toke might that married her against her will.

          • Sigrid and her fate are major elements of the story in book 4. The book’s title, “The Long Hunt,” has a double meaning in relation to the story. How’s that for a teaser? ;-)

  64. I recently ran across a novel about Vikings and it featured a character called Halfdan. The title and author is “Bracelet of Bones” (The Viking Sagas) by Kevin Crossley-Holland. I bought it and read it. Compared to the Strongbow Saga it was NOTHING. I can’t believe that a publisher would publish this stupid “Bracelet of Bones” and a publisher would drop Strongbow. There is no justice in the world!

  65. I’ve just been reading about casting rune stones. I wonder if Halfdan would consult the runes himself or if he would go to a shaman. It is really interesting to take a little time and read about each rune and learn what it means. I am wondering if the type of stone makes any difference. (Rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli–there are so many choices.) I am not in the least “New Age”, but am thinking about getting some rune stones and trying to work with them. Judson, have you or your wife tried casting runes as part of your Viking research?

    • Hello Elizabeth,

      Although I’ve read a little about rune casting, I’ve never come across any historical references that would suggest it was actually done back during the Viking time period. For that reason, and because I’m trying in this series to portray the Vikings as historically accurate as possible, I’ve not included anything about them in the story. Has anything you’ve read included any historical sources? I’d be interested if you know of any.

      • Hi Judson. In the old poem Sigrdrifumal, a valkyrie tells a warrior that he must know the runes in able to deal with difficult situations. He must know victory runes, sea runes, healing runes, speech runes, thought runes, ale runes, and saving runes. (This last is to save and loosen children from women: i.e. assist in childbirth.) There is a quick overview on Wikipedia (yeah, I know–but it’s so convenient)…I actually found my information in Judith Jesch’s book “Women in the Viking Age.” In my edition the information is in Chapter 5: Art, Myth, and Poetry on pages 142 and 143 under the subheading “Eddic wisdom”.

      • I have not been able to find anything in an original source about runes casting, but I have not read all of the sagas–I tend to jump around and just read the interesting parts that I find. I have Heimskringla, Njal’s Saga, and Grettir’s Saga. I checked the index carefully in Jenny Jochens’s book Women in Old Norse Society, and just didn’t find anything pertaining to runes casting. A quick Google search didn’t reveal anything either, so Sigrdrifumal seems to be the only place that connects warriors with needing rune knowlege. I wonder what they specifically had to do to access the knowledge. (Cast their own runes? Go to a wise woman such as the Valkyrie offering advice?) I wonder if anyone else participating on this discussion board has any more clarification.

  66. I have multiple things to say, so bear with me.

    One. I loathe you. I despise you and your books with a passion. Why? Multiple reasons. The first, being books four and five aren’t out yet. HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME HANGING!?!?!?!?!? I NEED MORE!!!!! Second, your books nearly caused me and my girlfriend to break up. I spent a full week reading books one, two, and three multiple times. She thought I was intentionally ignoring her, so I gave her the books to prove her wrong. Now, she spent another week ignoring ME to read the books. But it’s all good now, and now we have another thing to share and craze about. Finally, you’ve stuck me and my girlfriend in a Viking craze, so now all we have done is make costumes, weapons, and attack people who walk along a bike path. I haven’t been issued any citations, but I did receive a big whack from an old lady with a cane. Thank the gods for armor! (By the way, if you haven’t picked up by now that I love, not loathe, your books, I’m telling you now)

    Two. I hope you could go into more of the details of Halfdan’s life in your next books. I’d like to see Halfdan looting a slain soldier, or perhaps shaping arrows or forging tools. I’d love to see more of the everyday actions of a Viking warrior. I’m not saying that I want to hear every time he has to make water or eat, but a few more details would be nice. Feel free to ignore this, as I’m certain that I’ll love your books regardless.

    Three. Your former publisher was an idiot to drop these books. They are some of the best, if not the best, Medieval/Dark Age books I’ve ever read.

    Fourth and final. Your books are suited for teens and above. My girlfriend and I are both 16, and we found the books perfectly enjoyable and acceptable. My parents and hers also love them, and they’re 50ish. So I guess they’re good for all ages. (Except little kids. I don’t think they’d understand them)

    Thank you for enduring my rant and my great wall of text. Can’t wait to get the new books!

    • Great post–you got me. When I first started reading this, I felt mixed emotions: deeply hurt feelings, mixed with sword-slaying anger. I almost hit delete, but fortunately kept reading, which led me into much laughter. You have a wonderful sense of humor–thanks for how you wound me up! And thanks, too, for your requests–I do bear these kinds of suggestions from readers in mind as I work on the rest of the series.

      Watch out for those old ladies on the bike paths!

      Best regards,

      Judson

  67. I really enjoyed the Strongbow books. I am an avid reader of historical fiction. When I read that the fourth may be coming out at the end of the year, I read them again to freshen up on the characters and plot and I must I enjoyed them even more the second time! I am highly anticipatory of your next book! Congrats on a great series!

  68. Hay my name is Adam im a big fan i love your books. you are im my mind one of the best righters of all time . BUT!!!!!! I have been waiting for two years for you next book of the saga and im going crazy mate please tell me how much longer or why its not out.
    Thank you.
    From your
    Bigest fan
    Adam Tawfik

    • Hello Adam, and thanks for writing.

      Book 4 is not out because I’m still writing it. A number of different things have caused the delay, including problems with the original publisher, HarperCollins, that kept the fate of book 4 in limbo for several years (I’m now publishing the series myself). There have also been personal factors, including two deaths in my family last year, and a major cross-country move this year. But I’m still aiming to get book 4 out by the end of this year if at all possible, at least in a Kindle edition. Print and other versions may possibly take a little longer to get out–now that I’m in charge of publishing the series myself, the proofing and reviewing of each version of a book takes quite a bit of my time.

  69. Good afternoon Judson – I have just finished the trilogy which I enjoyed immensely. I am from Scotland where we have a shared heritage with the Vikings but where in general terms, the Norse raiders are viewed as barbaric & uncultured. I found the tone of your novels both refreshing & challenging & I look forward to seeing how Halfdan moves down the road to the final denouement with his execrable stepbrother. Happy scribing – Regards Eric

    • Thanks so much for writing, Eric. And your comment about the Vikings generally being viewed as barbaric and uncultured is very interesting–in fact, I’m making a post today on this website’s home page that addresses that misconception. Thank you for raising the subject and giving me the idea for the post.

  70. this was an amazing series i stumbled on to thanks to my mom. i am an avid reader and completed the series in two days can’t wait for more thanks for the good books :)

  71. Hi there.
    I recently came across your saga on amazon. I read the small preview, liked what i saw and purchased book 1.
    I finished the book in 5 days… every possible moment i was back reading your book.
    Upon completion I instantly bought books 2 and 3. That was 2 weeks ago.
    I have now finished all 3 books and I feel I need to comment!
    Absolutely gripping, thrilling, fast paced, involving, detailed but not too much, etc.etc.
    I just wanted to say I eagerly await your fourth book (and more to come).
    Thank you.

  72. G’day Judson,
    both my wife and self have recently found and read the three Strongbow Saga series. I noticed in the communications above that the fourth book in the series was due for publication early 2012. Has it been released as we are having withdrawals waiting? and can’t find it.

    PS Love your writing, couldn’t stop reading, read the three novels in around five days.

    • Hello Alan, and thanks for writing. I’m aiming for a late 2012 release of book 4 now. I had a major cross-country move that has taken lots of time away from writing, and delayed me. Trying to get back on track now, though.

  73. Hey Jud,

    I’ve been a long time fan of your books. I picked out your first book actually on accident, albeit a great one!

    I feel the books are amazing and love hearing every time Halfdan has won himself even more fame for his doings in Frankia. Can’t wait for the next novel!

    What amount of silver and gold would make these men ‘rich’ in their times? It seems like with Halfdan owning fine weapons, ten pounds of silver, the Gold arm band, and being in the company of Jarls and Kings, would make him pretty substantial then. With all of this is mind, when he gets back home, would all of the men that lived in the long house follow Halfdan as they did his brother Harald?

    This may sound silly and non consequential, but I like hearing the small details of the his daily life, like on-board the ship, getting new clothes, what connections he is making with the crew, when he is making arrows/blacksmithing, and what he earned/looted from the campaign. I was wondering if more of these small details would be added in the next novels? I feel they really add in some extra details.

    Thanks so much!
    Jake Lloyd

    • Hi Jake, and thanks for some great questions. I’m not going to answer them here, but they’ll be part of a new post I’ll make soon on the home page, which will also disclose (only a little–not too much of a spoiler ;-) about how the issues you’ve raised figure into book 4.

      Stay tuned!

  74. Hi!

    I am a Norwegian and have just finished your three books about Strongbow. I enjoyed them very much. I do really looking forward to book number 4!

    I am a teacher in primary/secondary school and history is one of my subjects. The start of the viking age is often associated with the attack on the monestery of Lindisfarne in ad 793. Though, there is a passage from one Saxon annal saying that ad 787 a viking fleet manned by ”Norðmanna of Hæreðalande” attacked Devon in England.
    (http://arkeologi.blogspot.com/2012/01/tre-riker-mange-folk.html)

    I live in the “county” of Hæreðalande in Norway and I use to tell my pupils that maybe people from our very own turf actually started the viking raids. Thanks to your books I can also tell quite vivid stories of how life could have been onboard these ships and in the camps of these raiders.

    Thank you!

    • Thank you for writing, Erling. It’s very gratifying to know that someone in Scandinavia is reading and enjoying the books.

      I’m familiar with the the passage from 787 you’re referring to. Although in the version I have, the Northmen, who killed the King’s Reeve, are described as Danes. But without a doubt, Norwegian Vikings were heavily involved in the early Viking-era raids on Ireland, and Dublin is considered to have been founded as a military camp by Vikings who were mostly Norwegian.

  75. Is the next book coming out, “The Beast of Dublin?” And also, how many books will there be at the end of this series?

    • The next book out will be book four of the Strongbow Saga series, titled “The Long Hunt.” After that I’ll finish “The Beast of Dublin,” which technically is not part of the series, but in some ways is kind of a prequel. The Strongbow Saga will be five books when it’s complete. But maybe (if I live long enough ;-) there will be a second series that picks Halfdan’s life up again some years later.

      • That’s great Judson. I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Ever since I was around seven or eight I always had a fascination of Vikings. Thank you so much for writing this series and I thoroughly enjoy reading it. :)

  76. Hi Judson,
    I’ve been following your series since i was in 6th grade. I remember when i happened to stumble upon the book laying on my teachers desk, I asked him if i could borrow it and within the day. I had finished. I then had to wait till summer for the next book to come out, and just as i finished 8th grade, i received the 3rd book as part of an award for history. I just wanted to thank you for immersing myself into a part of my culture that I had previously cared little about. Your books are amazing and i believe that its how close you stay to the history while still adding in fiction. I can’t wait until you come out with the next book. Best of luck.

  77. I’m not a prolific reader like many of my friends and family but I stumbled upon “Beast of Dublin” and finished it quickly. In the mean time I decided to look for your other work. I have polished off book one of the Strongbow Saga and currently in the middle of book two.

  78. I read with interest about your move to Oregon and wondered if you are affiliated with a college or university or are one of the few who can support himself with writing alone?

    I taught at the university level for 31 years.

    • I’m not affiliated with a college or university. Most of my adult life I worked in the area of criminal law, including as a police officer, federal agent, and prosecutor. However, about 15 years ago I started having some health problems that were eventually diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis. Fortunately it’s a pretty mild case, and has actually gotten better in recent years instead of worse, but work in the legal field, especially criminal law, required a more consistent high level of energy than I could always count on.

      But thanks to Amazon, which has done more to help individual authors sell, promote, and profit from their own work than any traditional publisher ever did, I can now support myself from my writing.

  79. I’m glad to see you made it safely up to Oregon. As a military family, we made a similar trip in 1975–so your post brought back memories for sure.Your last blog from Texas made me think of the Anglo-Saxon poem “The Wanderer.” I was sorry to hear of the losses you and your wife have had, but– Best wishes for you both in your new home. I’ve read books 2 and 3, and as someone else posted, I, too, am looking forward to seeing what happens with Halfdan and Genevieve. Her behavior doesn’t ring quite true for a young, medieval nun–but at the same time, her love for Halfdan, and his for her, does ring true. It seems natural, timeless, and inevitable. Happy writing–like your other fans, I’ll be waiting for what happens next.

  80. Just finished the last book of the three you have published. I too couldn’t quit reading them and got 2 and 3 after reading 1.

    I do have a bit of historical information which you aluded to in book 2 I believe. You have Halfdan remark that French saddles don’t have stirrups. I would suggest that at that time, no saddles had stirrups since they hadn’t been invented yet , to my knowledge. It is my understanding that the Norman French invented stirrups prior to 1066 and this invention led to their prowress with the Norman cavalry charge. Harold Godwinson of England neutralized the stirrup’s advantage at Hastings by holding his army at the top of a hill forcing the Normans to charge up the hill and expose the belly of their horses to Saxon spear tactics such as you describe the Danes used in the battle of Paris. Am I misinformed on this point?

    I await your response. Enjoyed the books immensly, by the way.

    • The conventional wisdom is that stirrups were invented prior to around 1000 A.D. In fact, many, many years ago, I wrote a college honors thesis about the rise of cavalry in the early Middle Ages after the invention of stirrups, arguing a cause and effect.

      The problem with that theory is that more recent archeological evidence has disproved it. There have been a number of finds of stirrups dating quite earlier than 1000 A.D.–including grave finds in Scandinavia, the Vikings’ homelands. So although by the 9th century there were still some cultures–including, according to the best evidence to date, the Franks–who did not use stirrups, the fact that they did not was not because stirrups had not yet been invented.

      Thanks for the interesting question, though–it’s always good to get input from a history buff–and glad you’re enjoying the series.

      • I hate how in the movies, champions will heroically drive their horses straight towards a thicket of spears and at the last second leap over them and start slaughtering enemies

        The truth of the matter is that cavalry has to be a precise, cohesive, extensively trained group and I think you covered their organization perfectly in books 2 and 3

    • Hi Judson,

      What a long journey to Oregon (blog) but when you think about it, it was nothing compared to the passages made by the Vikings you write about. For Hastein to make it to say Ireland or France from Denmark against the prevailing South Westerlies is up to 1000 nautical miles, depending on which way he went, would have taken two to three weeks since they seemed to prefer to stop for the night if possible. But then those were different times.

      I must say I enjoyed reading the Strongbow stories and look forward to the next Hafdan adventure. I’m Irish and live in the Viking city of Waterford or Vedrafyord as the Vikings called it. In fact I own part of the ancient Viking wall built around 1000 a.d. close to Reginald’s Tower which dates from 1003 in an area called the Viking Triangle. We also have a Strongbow by the way and this one was real. He was a Norman called Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke (Wales) who came with the second tranche of Normans in 1170 and promptly massacred all in sight.

      We in Ireland are getting more and more interested in chasing up our Viking history and archaeology is adding to the picture daily. Recently we found a new riverside Viking town of considerable size beside but away from the present city of Waterford. The discovery was made when excavations were being made to build a new bypass road. The site is dated from 840 to 930. About 4000 items have been found so far including a Carolingian sword from Francia. Wikipedia cover it quite well. The site seems to have lost favour with the Vikings for some reason because they moved to Waterford which was about 2 or 3 miles away in c.940.

      Is your character Ragnall the same as Ragnall ua Ímair who died about 920 – he occupied Waterford for a while?

      If you need any extra bits of knowledge on the Irish Vikings do get in contact with me because we have quite a few experts around here.

      • Hello Nick,

        I’ve read about the discovery of the Waterford Viking site, and hope to visit it in the not too distant future (I need to make a research trip to Ireland). When I do, you’ll have to show me your wall.

        The Ragnar in my series is based on Ragnar Logbrod, who was most probably captured and killed in Northumbria around the 860s. His death may have triggered the massive Viking attack–initially on Northumbria, but then on much of the rest of England–that led to the first major Danish conquest of most of England, and the creation of the region known as the Danelaw.

        Part of The Beast of Dublin tales place in the area around Waterford. I may take you up on your offer. Thanks!

        • Hi Judson

          It would be a pleasure to show you Viking Waterford if you haven’t already been. If you care to PM me I can give you my telephone details.

          Regards,
          Nick

          • It’s a plan. I’m not sure If I’ll make it over there this year, or perhaps–probably more likely– sometime next year. I’m just wrapping up a major move (2,500 miles, from Texas to Oregon), so my bank account is rather depleted at the moment.

            But I’ll email you soon, and my wife and I will be there. Hastein and Conall have a significant adventure in the Waterford area, and there’s much to research there.

    • It is my belief that the Chinese were the first to invent stirrups. I did a term on Ancient China for 8th Grade History and stirrups were mentioned as a Chinese invention. I don’t know when they were invented in China but if you really want to know, you can always Google it.

  81. I am up to the last 7 or 8 pages of the Road to Vengeance and it’s really sad how Halfy has to leave Genevieve. I wonder if in tge coming books, anything else will go on between these two.

      • I’m a 13 year old boy and I was pretty devo when Halfdan had to leave Paris. But can I just say, this is one of the greatest series I’ve ever read.

          • When I read Percy Jackson, it was good, but it is like literally impossible for me to put these books down, even at the end of a chapter and I read every single word on it, from the inside of the front cover to the end of the acknowlegdments. This series should definately be made into a movie. And by the way I love the Viking History, it’s awesome.

  82. hey jud,
    viking warrior was one of those book that u pick up randomly but you just cant put it down. the whole time while i was reading it i couldnt stop thinking about what was going to happen next. so i bought the next two books after i finished readiing th first one and i am biting my nails everyday trying to figure out what is going to happen next. i cannot wait for the beast of dublin and the final book

  83. Hey Chris, don’t harass Mr. Roberts! Some of the greats of literature such as Charles Dickens and Mark Twain had their novels serialized in installments in magazines. This idea of having several installments of one story is a good one, it adds to the suspense.

  84. Hi
    I found these books on kindle last week and really enjoy them, but one big problem I can get through one in about 4 hours at most any chance of making them longer or very difficult i.e. Shogun.
    I also enjoyed very much your recommendation of “Yseult” a somewhat differant take on the opera and film, thanks.
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      You’re certainly not the first reader to think each individual volume is too short. I actually originally wrote books 2 and 3 as a single novel–it made sense to me to make the entire campaign in Frankia a single book. However, the original publisher, HarperCollins, refused to publish it unless I broke it into two shorter novels, so I was left with no choice. Many traditional publishers are leery of publishing large novels, because they cost more to produce, unless they feel very confident that the book will be a best seller.

      Also, another way to look at this is that when eventually complete, the Strongbow Saga will be a single, unified story. My original editor at HarperCollins made a comparison to Lord of the Rings. It’s a single, long story, that now is available in its entirety, but when originally published, the individual books in that trilogy were released over time, and the initial readers had to wait for each volume to come out.

      • Hey Mr. Roberts!
        Chris, in my opinion makes a great point…Will the next 2 books have more chapters than the others? I am able to read each book within a few hours as well (mainly since I can hardly put it down if I wanted to) Since you are now self-publishing, is the choice still up to you?

        • Hi Alexa,

          The choice of how long to make the books is now definitely mine to make, and I intend going forward to make them as long as properly telling each segment of the story requires. The first three books were each between 80-90,000 words. Although I won’t know until I get there, I strongly suspect book 4 will be longer than that, although so far I’m not sure by how much. The Beast of Dublin is likely to be considerably longer–it will be a stand-alone novel, versus part of a series, and there’s lot’s of the story in it yet to unfold.

  85. FYI: I work on offshore oil platforms, and almost all of us expat engineer types have kindles, (nary a nook to be found) and many of us have similar reading tastes. I’m a huge Bernard Cornwell fan, and had just finished buying both “The Burning Land”, and Heppners; “The Great Pagan Army” kindle editions, when Amazon showed me the “You might also be interested in this” page. It was book one of the Strongbow series. I almost didn’t get it, because it was free. My reasoning was that if something is free then maybe it’s because it’s inferior. But it had picked my interest somewhat since I had just read two Viking era books. So after reading both the afore mentioned books I decided to read Viking Warrior. Needless to say it was great, and I immediately got the next two in the series, and read them quickly. Too quickly it seems, because now I’m waiting to see how Halfdan avenges Harald, and am chomping at the bit for book four. You have won over a Cornwell fan, and I am letting other kindle readers about this series. Please forgive my amatuer critique, but it’s every bit as good as Cornwell, and better then Heppner. So when does book four get released? I mean Halfdan ain’t getting any younger ya know….

    • Thanks for writing, Mark. Are the platforms you work on in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, or elsewhere?

      I’m glad you decided to give the series a chance. The free price was a temporary promotion, part of a new program that Amazon provides to authors to help them reach a new and wider base of readers.

      As to when book four gets released, I’m currently in the midst of a big move, from Texas to Oregon, but once that’s done I’ll be in a rental house for several months, so plan to devote my type there, while I’ll have fewer than usual distraction, to complete the first draft of book four and get it out to my editorial readers for their feedback. Because like Halfdan, I’m not getting any younger, either, so I want to finish book four and publish it in 2012.

      • 2012 works for me. I really like Oregon. My daughter lives in Eugene, and I really like going to visit her. Coos Bay is cool too.

        The rigs I work on are almost all overseas. Right now I’m offshore Ghana.

        Good luck with your move. I’ll be looking for more Halfdan, hopefully for many more books.

  86. Hello Jud,

    Well I downloaded the First book cause it was free on amazon…just a chance discovery, I had no idea who you were but the reviews of the book looked promising and I love historical fiction…..I finished it in a day and bought the second two immediately!

    Thanks for a great read and I am eagerly awaiting the next book!

    Cheers
    Sam

  87. Just read a Cornwell book of the same period, which I like, and was desperately looking for something else. Took a chance,w/o a lot of expection,on ‘Viking Warrior’ and was more than pleasantly surprised. Have your next two on order. Thanks. Bill. Portland, Or. PS-Not just for teens.

    • Thanks, Bill. They’re definitely not just for teens. The series’ original publisher, HarperCollins, made the decision to target that age group, but I wrote the books (and am continuing the series) visualizing it as adult historical fiction.

      My wife and I are moving up to Oregon next week, by the way. We’re looking forward to it–it’s such a beautiful state.

  88. The Strongbow Saga is a great read and a great achievement. Thank you and well done Judson! I like how you have been so true to the times and principle historical events. I have often been intrigued and confused about the Franks, the Gauls and the Vikings and how they all fitted in together. It is great to find out about this as you weave a very interesting and inticing tale through the series. I will definitely recommend this to others. Having said that. Where is the best place I can write a review for you? On Amazon? I am happy to do so.
    Keep up the great work!
    Cheers,
    Carl

    • Thank you very much, Carl, for your kind words and for your offer to write a review. As publishing has become more decentralized in the past few years, reader reviews have become quite important because they do have a strong impact on book sales. Amazon would be the best place to post one–the great majority of my sales come from there, and Amazon will add the review to both the Kindle and print editions.

  89. I just finished reading all three of these books. I loved them. I can hardly wait until the 4th book comes out. I am looking forward to hearing how Sigrid has fared since her brothers left and the return of Toke. I dearly hope he did not take her to wife as I think of her conversation with Halfdan re: wanting to marry for love. Keep up the good work.

  90. Mr. Roberts:
    Wanted to let you know that I am looking forward to the next two installments of Strongbow Saga. I hope to purchase the entire series for my neighbor boy. I especially enjoy the treatment of honour as an important and vital part of being. Thank you for a great story, history teaching and moral discussions.

  91. hello Jud, i have been reading your series for quite a while now and it is quite literally the best book ever written. i would like to thank you so much for writing your series and you can be sure that i will be buying the fourth and fifth installment of your book.
    thank you, Cameron

  92. Thank you for this marvelous stories! I’ve been sharing them with my four boys. We are spread all over the world, and yet come together as we read each others suggestions, and email comments back and forth. Your stories have been enthralling us over the past month as we’ve read through all three back to back. I dare say each of our work productions have slackened!

    Again, thank you.
    ~Michael

  93. The only thing I didn’t like about The Beast of Dublin is that it isn’t finished! More, please.
    I will read books 2 and 3 of Halfdan’s story while I’m waiting. Thanks for these books–they may be considered Young Adult fiction, but I’m at retirement age and they suit me just fine.

    • Thank you. Actually, I wrote them intending them to be adult historical fiction. It was the original publisher, HarperCollins, who decided to release them as Young Adult fiction. Now that the rights to all of the books have reverted back to me, I consider them as adult fiction again, but that also appeals to young adult readers. And book 4 will be a bit darker than the first three, so it will more obviously adult fiction.

  94. The Kindle has brought me back to reading… and what a treat to discover your writings. I found your wonderful Strongbow Saga on Kindle 3 days ago… book one, next day book 2, tonight book 3…so disappointing that there are not many more to dive into right away. Thank you for this engaging escape. Bravo!

  95. Hello,
    I just thought I’d sing your praises! By a happy accident, I came across your first book sitting on a library shelf. I devoured it and went back for the second one. Which I also devoured and then read the third book with some mixed feelings, knowing that once I finished it I would not be able to simply go and get the fourth book, that instead I would have to practice patience not knowing when the fourth book would come out. But after visiting this site and reading the September 2 post, my hope grew! I eagerly await “The Long Hunt” and hope to see it out this year. OK, enough rambling from me, your time is better spent writing than reading what i have to say. ^_^ p.s. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS!

  96. Dear, Mr. Roberts

    First off I would like to say I am a big fan of the Strongbow Saga, and am looking forward to the next installment. I would have to say that the Strongbow Saga is at the top of the list of my favorite Historical Fiction Novels, right up with Bernard Cornwell’s Grail Quest series.

    I do have one question concerning the 4th book, and that is: Will we see Genevieve again? I’m thinking that it is a stupid question but I get the feeling that you are planning for her to reappear, maybe having her seek out Halfdan. Possibly fleeing the convent because of a result of the time they spent together near the end of the last book. Anyway I’m just a rambling fan who can’t wait for the next part!!

    Big Fan
    John C.C.

    • Thanks for writing, Josh.you’re not the first reader to write me wanting to see Genevieve again. It’s gratifying to know she made such an impression.

      I’m not going to say that she and Halfdan will never get back together again, but I’m not going to promise that they will, either. Their story exists in my head. The limiting factor is, to be blunt, how long I’ll live and write.

      But I will say that you’ll not see her in book 4. In that book, Halfdan will see Toke again, and the story will take some darker turns.

  97. I’ve been wondering about Halfdan’s half-sister Sigrid. Last we heard of her she was at home with her step-mother (Toke’s mom). Will we ever hear about her again?

    • Hi Melissa, great to hear from you again. Yes, you will hear from her again–Sigrid will be a major, pivotal character in book 4.

  98. How many books total are you going to make in “The Strongbow saga”?
    I really like the series…a lot.
    I read the first book in about two months, reading about a little more than a few pages a day. I finished the second in about three months, reading not too much a day or not at all. I read the third book in about three days and I am looking forward to the fourth book…I can hardly wait, but take your time. After all you can’t rush great work!
    I have another idea. Some series have– this may not make much sense but–multiple series to them. So, like, when Halfdan’s adventure is over, maybe, for example, his son, or someone of the sort goes on another similar adventure but, different and still related to the original saga. You could do that same thing or something of the sort for generations! (generations in the story, that is). It would be glorious! Anyway, I think you should make the series long like 30 books…ok maybe that’s too much, but, just saying, I’d hate to end such a great tale. I know you plan to make only five but, please at least10 books (per series) though… PLEASE! (if at all)
    I hope you think about and maybe take into consideration what I said… and plus you could probably make a bit more money continuing the series as I suggested. Plus It would make all your fans happy including me. Although I haven’t heard of you until I read what there is of this series so far. And I am already a fan after three books!
    Like I said, I love the series, and take your time!

    • Hi Brandon,

      I saw you’d made a new post, but had trouble finding it. For some reason my website is acting up a little, and put this post all the way at the bottom of this section, rather than at the top, where new posts are supposed to appear. I’ll try to get it moved, because this is a very interesting question.

      I’m planning five books for The Strongbow Saga. That series will end when Halfdan and Toke have their final confrontation. But, as you suggest, that’s not Halfdan’s whole story. I do have some somewhat vague plans for a second series, that will pick up Halfdan’s tale again, about ten years after the end of the Strongbow Saga. There are a number of very interesting historical events during that time period that I think Halfdan should be a part of. And the stand-alone book I’m currently working on (in addition to book 4), “The Beast of Dublin,” will in some ways be a prequel to The Strongbow Saga–although Halfdan is not in that story, Hastein and a number of other characters are, and a new character is introduced who will play a role in book 5 of The Strongbow Saga. A preview of that novel is available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon–I made the first part of novel available, while readers are waiting for me to actually finish another book.

      • Mwuahahaaaahaha!!!!!!! Haldan survives, you admitted it!!!! =D What a great idea for another set of the series, I would be super excited to hear you would continue! Books like these could never really end. I would be one of the first to buy!

        In the fourth book, do we get to meet anyone from Halfdans home that becomes a friend? I feel in the series that besides Genevieve, he’s never really had a true comrade/friend.

        • >Haldan survives, you admitted it!!!!
          Curse those unintentional spoilers! Of course, the story is told in first person, through Halfdan’s voice, which would be hard to do if he’s dead. ;-)

          >I feel in the series that besides Genevieve, he’s never really had a true comrade/friend.
          What about Einar?

  99. Hey there! Like everyone else, I’m a huge fan and can’t wait for the next instalment in your series! I was wondering if Halfdan ever names his sword like Harald does in the next books? It was mentioned that someone thought Halfdan would win a great sword for a famous deed…is this the sword?

    • Well, I actually hadn’t thought about him naming his current sword, which he took from Genevieve’s cousin when he fought and killed him. It’s a good sword, but not a great one. Hopefully, some day Halfdan will recover Biter, the sword that belonged to is brother, Harald–but you’ll have to wait and see.

      • Thanks! So what technically makes a sword a great one? was it not the pattern-welding?

        Also, i’ve read on a few sites that Ragnar was mysteriously killed in 845 and that king Horik did not approve of the raids and killed those who went, however others say that Ragnar died a long time later in England… How do you choose which to believe and not to? It seems like it would get confusing when they didn’t exactly have a system we could read about every event in their life.

        • During the earlier centuries of the Viking period, all of the better swords were of pattern-welded construction. However, all pattern-welded swords weren’t equal. What would make a “great” sword would be things like how well it was balanced and handled, and the quality of its temper–how hard the edge was, how flexible and resistant to breakage the blade was, etc.

          You’re correct that there are differing versions of Ragnar’s death. One Frankish monastery, which in its chronicles has a fairly detailed account of the 845 attack by the Vikings up the Seine, also claims in its account that upon its return to Denmark, the Viking army was struck down by God with the plague as punishment for the attack on Paris, and most of its members, including Ragnar, died. I tend to think that account was perhaps religious propaganda (for one thing, how would monks down in Frankia know this had happened up in Denmark?).

          The more widely told version of Ragnar’s death was that he was captured and killed in England by the Kind of Northumbria. The fact that some of Ragnar’s sons, including Ivar, did attack and conquer Northumbria and kill its king (and afterwards the Viking army went on to conquer much of the rest of England), to me suggests that this story may be the true one, although there is no way to know with total certainty.

  100. Just received a Kindle and just randomly purchased the first book in your Strongbow series to try out my new toy. Two days later, I have devoured the first 3 books. I am an avid fantasy reader and have truly enjoyed the saga. Looking forward to book 4 and excellent job so far!!

  101. Dear Mr. Roberts,

    As a member of a historical re-enactment group, it is not often that I find books related to Vikings that don’t make me cringe when I read them. I recieved a Kindle for Christmas, and the first book I downloaded was “Viking Warrior”. I read it with trepidation, but was soon completely immersed in the story and the detail. I finished it today, and immediately purchased the next two installments. I am recommending it to my friends, as it is by far the most detailed and well researched novel that I have read to date (well, regarding Vikings). Well done, and I thank you.

    Jon Weaver
    AKA Nikolas Hossvalder (My SCA personna is a Varangian Rus)

    • Thank you very much! I’ve met a number of Viking re-enactors, and their attention to detail and depth of interest and research in the Vikings make your kind words especially meaningful. I do try hard to portray the Vikings accurately–for the most part, they’ve received an undeserved bad image, a few today realize the enormous influence they had on Western culture and history.

  102. Really enjoyed first three books.also big fan of Bernard Cornwall,but trying to recall which of his books were set in Viking times.lets blame the glen fiddich.would be great to have more authors in Oregon.

    • Thanks. Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe series is my personal favorite of his work, but the Viking-period series is called, I believe, The Saxon Chronicles.

      Surely one should never blame a fine Scotch. Have you ever tried Edradour?

      If my house in Houston EVER sells, there will be another author in Oregon!

  103. Hi Judson, Not long ago I bought a Kindle and looked for books to download and saw one of yours on the Amazon web site. I gave it a try and then quickly downloaded the next two of the Strongbow Saga, but !!!!! where is number four? Regards Graham

  104. Hi

    I have just finished books two and three, I did them each in a day, I love the writing style. Unfortunately now I am sitting here with my kindle begging for the fourth book to be released! Is there any due / finalised date for the book??

    Thanks
    Daniel

    • I have to finish writing it first, which was delayed by the work preparing the new Kindle version of book 3, and then a family tragedy. I’m getting back to it this week, finally, but cannot yet predict when next year it will actually come out.

  105. Hey Judson,
    I was just looking an Amazon to see if the new version of book 3 was out when I saw that book 1 is part of the Amazon Prime Program. So my that got me to wandering if Amazon just sends you the royalties for it as if the book was a normal purchase or what.

    • The way the Amazon Prime lending program works is that each month, Amazon sets aside a pot of money ($500,000 for December) and divides it up on a proportional basis for all books borrowed during the month in the Amazon Prime Program. So it’s different from royalties for regular sales.

      I uploaded the new Kindle version of book 3 on Friday, but it’s low going live on Amazon–perhaps because HarperCollins has been negligently slow about taking down their Kindle edition. But it should be available soon.

    • Very, very soon. I just received the official reversion of rights to the book back to me, from HarperCollins, today. A few final finishing touches are being put on the map that will be put in the new edition, by my good friend and fellow writer Luc Reid. Everything should be ready to upload the book to Amazon by tomorrow, so it should appear in the Kindle store a few days after that.

  106. Hello Mr. Roberts I emailed you a few years back. 2009 I think? but I don’t expect you to remember anyways I loved your first three books and am awaiting the fourth. I remember finding your first book in chapters for $9 and buying it so it was kindof a fluke I found them but I think it would be cool if you wrote a companion book about prices of things then and the equivelant of what it would be now and also could you tell me when the red book with halftans face on it came out (was it the first version to come out or what)

  107. Hi Trevor,

    My site’s set-up doesn’t seem to allow a reply to a reply to reply, etc. A bug to fix.

    If his father’s/Harald’s housecarls would be willing to follow him, he would have enough of a retinue to be considered a chieftain. It wasn’t a real firmly defined thing, but essentially, a man important and powerful enough to have followers would be considered a chieftain.

  108. Hi there,

    I have always wondered if Halfdan ever loots anything in the series. You mention that others have gone and looted silver plates and candle sticks and clothing, and it seems Halfdan never does anything that is perfectly normal in his culture. He even goes on a raid to loot the church of St. Genevieve and then it cuts out, and you never mention anything. In your revised edition are you going to be adding in more details?

    • That’s a great question–thanks for it! When Ruda was captured, he didn’t have a chance to pick up anything because he had to stay at Wulf’s home and protect him and his family the night the town fell. And the Gull’s crew never went out on any mounted sweeps through the countryside, because Hastein kept them too busy with other duties. He did capture a prisoner to trade for ransom, which is somewhat akin to looting. But you’re right–he would have had a good opportunity during the looting of the abbey of St. Genevieve (he was with Ragnar, helping with the surrender of the island fort, when the actual church was looted). I’ll have to add in a mention, either in book 3 as I’m finalizing the new editions, or possibly early in book 4, of something(s) he acquired there. As you say, it would have been perfectly normal for him to do so.

      • Thanks for replying!
        I have been a huge fan of your writing for a long time!

        In the new books will Halfdan become the chieftain of his village and therefore more characters be introduced from his village that help him?

        Will Halfdan name his weapon? Were the pattern-welded swords really rare back then that Toke could not have gotten or had one made? (He was really angry when the other sword was burnt in the pyre)

        Thanks!

        • Halfdan’s father, Hrorik, was not actually chieftain of the village. He was a chieftain who lived on a large estate near the village, and as the highest ranking nobleman in the area, was also the godi, or priest, for the area, including the village. So even if Halfdan might be considered a chieftain if he settled down on his father’s estate and took it over, he wouldn’t be considered chieftain of the village, which would have its own headman, who would be one of the village’s inhabitants.

          But yes, there will be some new characters joining the story, both from the village and the estate.

          The story is set fairly early in the Viking period. Swords of any kind, not just pattern-welded ones were valuable and somewhat rare then–poorer warriors were more likely to be armed with spears and axes, which were far easier and less costly to make. Pattern-welded swords were the most time consuming to make, and thus the most expensive. Later in the Viking period, when decent quality swords that were not pattern-welded became more widely available, ownership of swords became much more common.

          • So what is he considered when he would take over his fathers household? Nothing special, or Headman, or just the leader of that particular estate? Sorry I’m Confused!

  109. Gid’day from Australia
    What a fantastic series thank you so much i enjoyed every word of it even the gory bits. Your word craft is sublime. Having just journeyed through ancient Franconia and leaving Paris on our last day in Europe I can identify now with the country and much more of the history. Your books have brought my travels to life in many ways. Eagerly awaiting the next installments to the series.
    cheers Susan

  110. hey again mr. roberts i was wondering cause i havent had a chance to really look yet but when does the beast of dublin come out? as much as im awaiting the other two books of the strong bow saga i also have awaited the release of this one as well. you see hastian was one of my favorite characters along with torvald and a few of the other crewmen. halfdan is my absolute favorite though the things he does and pulls off magnificent. i look forward to the beast of dublin. p.s. my second favorite is einar the old ranger. once again thanks for the marvelous saga ive been on thus far

    • Hello James, thanks for writing.

      Because sales of the new editions of the Strongbow Saga are doing so much better than the old editions were selling, and because long-time fans of the series have been waiting so long to find out what happens next, I’ve put The Beast of Dublin on the back burner until I finish book 4 and get it published. That means that it will be sometime next year– realistically, probably the latter half of the year–before I get back to writing The Beast of Dublin. At this point, I can’t really predict how long it will take me to finish it and publish it, but I think it’s safe to say that won’t happen before 2013.

      Hastein is one of my favorite characters, too, and I’ve been enjoying filling in some of his backstory in the Beast of Dublin. And Einar, one of your other favorites, will be a more prominent character in book 4 than he has been in the earlier books.

        • Well, I confess I don’t know what the pronunciation would have been back then. If I learned Icelandic, which is very close to Old Norse, I probably would know. But I pronounce it “Ha-steen,” with the emphasis on the second syllable.

  111. Hey Mr. Roberts,

    Huge fan of your works in the series!

    In the third book, Halfdan is given ten pounds of silver (coins?) in exchange for Genevieve – A huge sum of money – and I was wondering how much silver it takes to make the Vikings wealthy in their society. In the first book Halfdan pays for an entire sea chest with half of a coin. Would twenty coins buy a horse or even a boat to be commissioned?

    I also would like to agree with Bear Lane who would like to read what Halfdan has earned for his work and trials. I think it adds that little bit more into the stories!

    Thanks

    • You ask an interesting question, which I’m unfortunately not able to give a definite answer to. The value of anything, from a horse to a ship to a slave, was likely to vary considerably over time and in different locations. Also, there were quite a lot of different kinds of coins from different countries in circulation in the Viking lands: penny-weight coins that were minted in Scandinavia, as well as Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, and even Arabic coins.

      Because of this lack of standardization, for the most part, until fairly late in the Viking era, the value of a coin was based entirely on its weight–i.e., how much silver it contained. That is why, in Viking treasure hordes that have been found, there is often a lot of what’s called “hacksilver”: cut pieces of coins and sometimes jewelry, used in trade based on weight.

      In the early Viking period, the standard weights of silver ranged from a “mark,” which would have been a fairly large value–originally worth 240 pennies–down to the commonly minted coins called pennies, which originally weighed about 0.89 grams. Later in the Viking era the weight of a penny was cut in half, and it took twice as many to constitute a mark. While I have never come across a reference to what it would cost to have a ship built, I’m sure its cost would be significant, measured in marks rather than pennies.

      • Just to get an idea of the amount of silver given to Halfdan, I did this quick equation — Assuming you gave him purely silver coins as the ransom, and they all equalled roughly 0.89g –
        Hopefully I did the correct type of math
        10 pounds = 4535.923 grams
        4535.923g divided by 0.89g
        =5096.5 coins or 21+ ‘marks’

        Seems to me like Halfdan is set! It would be certainly interesting if we were able to find the value they put into items like horses, swords, and ships to kinda get an idea of what made them wealthy by their standards.

        Very interesting!

        • After reading your original post, I searched through my research library looking for the relatively few references I’ve found that mention, at a particular place and time, the actual values placed on a few objects (if I’m recalling them correctly, they were things like the cost of an attractive female slave, the remuneration that would have to be paid for killing another’s cow, etc.) but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find them. But you’re right–Halfdan certainly did very well in Frankia.

  112. I was reading the first book in your saga and enjoyed it. When I looked in the glossary and I found the meaning of the term «White Christ» it seems offensive to Christians. I am Christian and wondered if the term will be used often.

    • I apologize if you felt the term is offensive. I do very in-depth research to try and portray the Vikings’ society and culture as historically accurately as possible, so that we, today, can have a better understanding of them. “White Christ” is a historically accurate term that the Vikings used. They were a people who highly valued courage and warlike skills. Their own gods were warlike, and within their value system, for someone–human or god–to meekly surrender without a fight would seem to suggest a lack of courage.

      I cannot say how often the phrase “White Christ” will appear over the course of the series.. But may I gently suggest that while I can understand if you, as a Christian, might be offended at the Vikings’ misinterpretation of Jesus’ actions, perhaps one should not be offended when reading history. The past, and facts about the past, are what they are. And you should also consider that over time, all across the Vikings’ lands their people came to accept Christianity.

  113. Hello there Mr. Roberts!

    I saw that you had posted pictures of your ideas on the new cover art for book 3, and you wanted a little feedback from the readers.

    I like your ideas for the cover art very much, I think the background is very attractive, and would catch my eye if I walked past it in a book store. However something that detracts from the cover is the plastic toy figure that has been copy pasted with a different resolution, into the grass. This is the same with the cover art of the first book, great picture, bad copy paste job.

    Something that Harper Collins did manage to do was to have their cover art kind of go with the story, whether it was the picture of Halfdan holding the sword or bow ready for battle, and the new challenges, or it was him on the cover of the third book starting to look older and more prepared. These covers really did ‘evoke’ a sense of passion, as I can identify with a picture of a man who has recently become a free man who sets off to hunt down his brothers’ murderers, than a pix-elated plastic toy holding a flag.

    When I see a plastic toy, I can’t bring myself to feel any of the excitement that happens during the book, and if I was a new reader of the series, I wouldn’t get what Halfdan would really look like.

    I understand most of this has been out of your control, but now that you have the opportunity to create your own cover page, I would suggest something a little more towards the setting of the story, and something that the readers can identify with.

      • I’m very sorry to have seemed so blunt, but I do feel that if I was in your position, I would like to hear honest input from the readers of the series. I think your books are a magnificent pieces of work, and I would want the cover page to do your high degree of writing justice.

        I also noticed that in the first picture, the section where the figures arm is holding the horn to its mouth is grayed out and hasn’t had the background of either the building or grass placed in it!

        Best of luck with your new books, and I can’t wait to buy The Long Hunt soon!

      • I liked the old covers for your books better than the new ones and i really don’t understand why you’re changing it. Also, I would like to know if you are putting out a fourth book because the third book is kind of a cliff hanger and its been driving me crazy because i bought your first book like 4 years ago and this is my sixth re-read of the series so please get back to me on that

        • I went back through and read a few of your posts that i missed and now realize that some of my questions are kind of stupid, and for that I am sorry. But thank you for reading my post anyway. Can’t wait to read The Long Hunt

  114. Here is a news story that other people may like:
    The first fully intact Viking boat burial site to be found on British soil has been uncovered by a team of archaeologists in Scotland.

    The five metre-long (16-foot) grave, thought to contain the remains of a high-status Viking, was discovered at a site estimated to be 1,000 years old.

    The Viking was buried with an axe, a sword and a spear in a ship held together with 200 metal rivets.

    The excavation project’s co-director, Dr Hannah Cobb, described the discovery on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula as “an exciting find.”

    “A Viking boat burial is an incredible discovery, but in addition to that, the artefacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain,” Cobb said.

    The team of archaeologists from the universities of Manchester and Leicester working with other archaeology organisations also unearthed part of a shield, a bronze ring-pin, a whetstone from Norway and Viking pottery at the site.

    “Though we have excavated many important artefacts over the years, I think it’s fair to say that this year the archaeology has really exceeded our expectations,” she said.

    Viking specialists from the University of Glasgow have said the boat is likely to be from the 10th century AD.

  115. You may have not intended to do so, but I think you have managed to express the state of mind that a lot of people are in. The sense of wanting to help, but not knowing how or where, is something a lot of us are going through.

  116. Judson Roberts,
    I really have never understood why your books never went into the top sellers. The books were wrote out and organized very well, and I have been anxious to read the next of the series FOREVER. I am glad that publishing them with a different company made more sales which made you decide to continue the series. I will definitely be a reader when they come out! I would just like to say that in book 3, you told us near the end of what Halfdan had gained, I would really appreciate if you would mention what he has earned time to time, as for some reason, I receive a jolt of astetic pleasure when reading facts like that.
    Thanks,
    Bear

  117. Ok thank you as i said befor in an earlyer post i have the first 3 books signed and in very good condition and was wondering once the 4th book comes out are you going to be going to any of the book conventions in houston so that i could get it signed as well?

    • I’m afraid that’s probably unlikely. I’m presently planning to move from Houston to Oregon, and I would expect–and certainly hope–that I’ll have completed that move by the time book 4 comes out. However, one of my plans for the future, after the move, is to set up an arrangement where readers can order copies of book 4, and the earlier books, directly from me, so they can obtain autographed copies signed personally to them.

      Judson

  118. Hi! I read book one of the strongbow sega in 2006-2007 when I was in high school. I was completely taken by the first book and just found out that there are more books in the series (I just bought my own computer). Consider them purchased and being eagerly read this week! It was by far my favorite book of the year! I just wanted to say thank you so much for writing the books and continuing with the series! huge fan of your work and I look forward to more books!

  119. Judson,
    Outstanding works, I loved them and I’m eager for the next installment, when will it be out? I just bought an HP TouchPad with the Kindle app on it about two weeks ago, yours were the second, third and fourth books I read on it. I tore through them in about five days, my wife is feeling neglected, but I could not stop reading. I love historical fiction particularly set in the middle ages era in western Europe. Your books were as educational as they were enjoyable. I would love to see you write a connecting tale set in Ireland as I have a lot of ancestors from there. Mainly, I just wanted to thank you for your passion and your perfectionism and for bringing them to life in Halfdan’s tale.

    Sincerely,

    Chace Hatcher

  120. Hello Judson. I have read through the strongbow series and I am eager for the next book to be published. In addition to being an avid reader I am also an avid gamer. I noticed that your story has a number of key elements that make for a good video game and I was wondering if you had given any thoughts to introducing this story to the video gaming world.

    Thank you,

    James

    • Hi James,

      That’s a great idea, but I confess I don’t have a clue as to how to go about it. Any suggestions?

      Judson

      • I can honestly say I am equally clueless as to how one goes about converting a novel into a video game. It could be as simple as getting someone who works in video game design to give the book a read and determine if it “makes the grade”. One might also consider pitching the story directly to the various gaming companies, but I imagine that would be a tedious and likely fruitless endeavor. As I understand it most video game concepts are sold to gaming companies as nearly completed product rather than as an idea. I wish I could offer more assistance but as far as the gaming industry is concerned I am only a customer.

        James

  121. Hi,
    I’m halfway through the first book, and will probably read it with my 7th grade English class later this year as I think it’s something they’ll enjoy. What’s the possibility of getting it published in iBooks as well?

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks for writing, and if your class does read Viking Warrior, I hope they enjoy it. If, after reading it, the class would like to ask me any questions about the story and/or the Vikings, please feel free to submit them to me either here or by email, at strongbowsaga@gmail.com.

      RE: iBooks, I currently do not have plans to publish there, although I may change my mind about that in the future. Each new platform where I publish the books requires a certain amount of effort, which takes away writing time, and if the books have to be reformatted, also expense. Additionally, some companies–Apple included–don’t have policies and royalty payment structures that are as supportive and fair to authors as Amazon’s is, and there are some e-book venues whom I frankly do not trust as much as I trust Amazon.

      For those reasons, and because there is a free Kindle app that can be loaded onto Apple devices such as the iPad, I prefer to make my books available in e-book form to owners of Apple devices through the free Kindle app and Amazon’s Kindle store.

      Judson

  122. hi i just have to say you have to be my favorite wrighter i have all 3 of your original books autographed by you. i just i havent herd anything on your new book laitly and wanted to know whats up?

    • Thanks, Marshall. If you have autographed books, I wish I could put a face to your name. My September 02 post has the latest news about the next book. Thanks for posting.

      Judson

    • No, but I understand where you’re coming from with your question, since there was a Richard de Clare, nicknamed “Strongbow,” who led the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. The Strongbow in this series is a purely fictitional character, although there are a number of characters in the series who are based on actual historical figures.

      Judson

  123. Dear juson,
    I have read all three of ur amazing novels and have written a review for the first one and my review is still the best-picked review for ur novel as it still stands that way from last year. I find my-self very proud, i am of a younger age but adore your well-crafted series, i look forward to now re-reading them and hopefully ur 4th installment, cant wait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! keep doing what u do best :)

  124. Hey I love your books, but I do have two questions. First I was wondering now that you changed the intended audience from young adult fiction to adult fiction has anything been changed in the first two books you have re-released?

    And second, are you planning on releasing the preview of ‘The Beast of Dublin’ in book form or are you keeping it an ebook until it is finished?

    Thanks for your time and this great new website.
    Jordan

    • Jordan,

      I really haven’t made any substantive changes to the existing books, as I’ve re-released them as adult fiction. I originally wrote them as adult fiction, so there was no need to. The changes have been very minor–mostly corrections of minor typographical errors that were missed before, and some small continuity issues. I’ll try to make a post this coming week to elaborate further on the types of changes I’ve been making.

      I don’t plan to release The Beast of Dublin preview in print form, because it is just a preview, not a complete book. The e-book format lends itself well to previews, temporary offerings, etc. Setting up a print book is much more involved, so I’ll wait until the book is in final form to create its print edition.

      Judson

  125. Hey Major Fan here,
    Just read the first three books of the Strong-bow Saga and loved it. I’m very surprised how little recognition your books get even though they’re actually very well written and plausible. I especially like how you back up them with real historical data at the end of the books and also how you portrayed Viking lifestyle. Just a few questions though: Is there a fifth book for I know the fourth one is coming out this year end? And on the book cover is that a real person pictured as Halfdan?

    Thanks and good luck to your books.
    Kristen

    • Kristen,

      On the original HarperCollins covers, the person pictured was some model the publisher hired for a photo-shoot to create images for the covers. I don’t know anything else about him.

      There will be a fifth book–I’ve already roughed out the plot. And I’m afraid it’s now certain that book four won’t be out until sometime next year.

  126. As for the Strongbow Saga. I find there is a common thread in the historical fiction books that I list as my favorites. The stories are all different, but the protagonist is always a man of honor, and he sticks to that honor even when it looks like it could cause him great trouble, and he is always rewarded in the long run for doing so. Halfdan is a great example of this sort of character. Often his honor puts him in great peril for the short term, but following his honor eventually leads him to higher and higher esteem. And the first person just makes it that much better.

  127. Would love to see your friend make your website so we could sign up for you new materials and thoughts as you post them. I also just tumbled upon the Stongbow Saga and have enjoyed the first one, have ordered the second on from Amazon and looking forward to Books 3 and 4. Keep those books coming, I enjoy your style.

    • Thanks, Nancy. That change to the website is being developed, and hopefully will go live this week. The plan is to set up a new, separate page on the site as a central discussions forum, although visitors will still be able to separately post comments on individual news updates I post on the home page.

      Judson

  128. Hi I just read all three of the Strongbow Saga in the last week and really loved them and got very into the story. I’m 24 years old and love all kinds of historical fiction and have been plowing through various series in the last few months. Although I was an English major in college I am a professional athlete right now and find myself with lots of time on my hands during long flights where I can devour book after book. I found the Strongbow Saga after finishing Conn Iggulden’s “Conquest” series about the life of Ghengis Khan and his “Empire” series about the life of Julious Caeser. Although I am very much looking forward to the final installment to Halfdan’s story, are there any recommendations you can give me about other historical fiction novels or series? I especially love war fiction and have read many such novels about WW1, WW2, and the Civil War. I’ve actually just recently become interested in those from earlier time periods like the Vikings and Romans. Anyway, great work with the Strongbow Saga and good luck finishing up your current works.

    • Thanks, Charlie. Wow–a professional athlete! In what sport(s)?

      Re: other historical fiction recommendations, here are a few:

      “Shogun,” by James Clavell. It’s a stand-alone novel rather than a series, but it has, for years, been one of my top three favorite works of fiction–and although not a series, it’s a quite long read.

      “The Long Ships,” by Frans Bengtsson. This is an older novel, but it’s one of the few fiction works about the Vikings (other than the Strongbow Saga, of course) :-) that portrays them in what I feel is an accurate way.

      “Lonesome Dove,” by Larry McMurtry. It, too, is a stand-alone novel–and another quite long one–although the author did write a few books with some of the same characters (I haven’t read any of them). It’s a great portrayal of the American West, and the character Augustus McCrae is a classic.

      One of my favorite historical fiction series is the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell, which is set during the Napoleanic War. Cornwell writes a number of different historical fiction series, including one which is set during the Viking period (which has, in my opinion, some historical accuracy issues, but I’m kind of a stickler when it comes to the Vikings) but this one is by far my favorite.

      Judson

    • Charlie,

      Take a look at the Camulod Chronicles by Jach Whyte. It is a series about how Camelot and King Arthur came about, and the fascinating thing is that Arthur doesn’t even appear until the end of the third book, and then he is just an infant. The first two books are told by Arthur’s great grandfather, the next three by his guardian Merlyn and the final two by Lancelot. (Not as good). And like the Strongbow Saga it’s all first person, which I love. It akes all of the legends (the Lady of the Lake, sorcery etc and makes the plausible.)

  129. I happened on your writing and am really enjoying it – I hope you will keep on writing for many years, and will complete the Strongbow Saga, it is one of the best I have come across – cheers, John Witt

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