Set during Danish Prince Canute’s (King Cnut the Great) rise to the English throne, Vinland Saga begins in 1013 AD as the Vikings pillage their way across a beleaguered England. In their midst is the Icelandic boy-warrior Thorfinn, a precocious child hell-bent on exacting revenge on the man that murdered his father: Askeladd.
I’ve read only 26 chapters of Vinland Saga so far but its quality is such that I have to admit it’s already one of my favourites.
Thorfinn is the main character, an Icelandic warrior joined with a band of Viking mercenaries sailing the seas of Europe and sacking the villages and cities of Norman France and England. His talent as a fighter is chilling, if just because he’s still just a small boy!
This had me hooked straight away. You have this kid (a rag-doll, really) fighting in a bunch of gruesome, heavy battles, cutting the throats of soldiers and decapitating their Captains for the rewards.
It doesn’t shy away from the violence or cruelty of the infamous era of the Vikings, but there’s more to it than just brutality.