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HARALD THE RUTHLESS by Andrea Hopkins

HARALD THE RUTHLESS

By Andrea Hopkins (Author) , Leo Dura├▒ona (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8050-3176-6
Publisher: Henry Holt

 In a long picture book, Hopkins expertly retells ``The Saga of the Last Viking Warrior,'' Icelander Snorri Sturluson's c. 1230 account of Harald Sigurdsson. Whether sitting on King Olaf's knee as a child, escaping death at Stiklestad, storming across Europe at the head of the Byzantine Empire's elite Varangian Guard, fleeing Constantinople, or besieging and sacking one city or another, Harald always played the 11th-century version of hardball. It ends in England in 1066, when English Harold trounced Norse Harald, only to be trounced himself several days later at Hastings by Duke William of Normandy. Inserted into the drama of the tale are bits of poetry and pages of cultural information that often provide still more to intrigue readers. Dura┬žona's strong two-color illustrations in red and black are very effective; fire and blood appear in red--and there's a lot of red. Add the appended brief but excellent notes keyed to specific pages, the maps, a clean typeface and design, and the result is a short, exciting, eminently readable history. (Picture book. 9-11)