The Last Viking

The True Story of King Harald Hardrada

The Last Viking cover


The Last Viking tells the dramatic story of King Harald Hardrada of Norway, one of the greatest warriors to have ever lived. Drawing on original source material, Don Hollway recreates the violence and drama of the late Viking era in a gripping chronicle that transports the reader from the frozen wastelands of Scandinavia to the glittering opulence of the Byzantine empire and then finally to a muddy field of rural England.

King Harald III (called Hardrada, or “Hard Ruler”) of Norway was a real-life fantasy hero who burst into history as a teenaged youth in a Viking battle, from which he escaped with little more than his life and a thirst for vengeance. Journey with him across the medieval world, from the frozen barrens of the North to the glittering towers of Byzantium and the passions of the Holy Land. He'll fight for and against Christian, Muslim and pagan rulers. He'll bed handmaids, a princess and an empress alike, writing poetry and amassing a fortune along the way, before returning home to claim his love, his crown and his destiny, ultimately dying like a Viking: in battle, laughing, with sword in hand.

The Last Viking is a fast-moving narrative that reads like a novel, combining Norse sagas, Byzantine accounts, Anglo Saxon chronicles, and even King Harald's own verse and prose, into a single, compelling story. While pointing out errors and contradictions in the ancient stories for the sake of accuracy Don Hollway brings the true tale of this hero to life.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Part One
I. Seven Feet of English Ground
II. Eye of God
III. Exile
IV. Kievan Rus
V. Miklagard

Part Two
VI. Varangian
VII. Command
VIII. Holy Land
IX. Sicily
X. Uprising
XI. The Burner of Bulgars
XII. Reign of Terror
XIII. Revolution
XIV. Blinding
XV. Power
XVI. Lover
XVII. Downfall
XIX. Escape from Byzantium

Part Three
XX. Prince of the Rus
XXI. Denmark
XXII. Treachery
XXIII. Kings of the North
XXIV. Thunderbolt of the North
XXV. Dragon Ships
XXVI. Hard Ruler
XXVII. The Battle of the Nisa
XXVIII. Sweden
XXIX. England

Part Four
XXX. Stamford Bridge

Epilogue: The Last Viking
A Note on Sources

Product details

Published Sep 07 2021
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 368
ISBN 9781472846525
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 8pp plate section in colour
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Don Hollway

Don Hollway is an author, illustrator, and histori…


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