- The Hammer and the Cross
infobox Book |
name = The Hammer and the Cross
language = English
series = The Hammer and the Cross
Science Fiction/ Fantasy novel
release_date = 1993
media_type = Print (Hardback &
Paperback) & Audio book
isbn = ISBN 0-8125-2348-2
One King's Way
"The Hammer and the Cross" is the first in the series of novels written by
Harry Harrisonand John Holm, the pseudonym for the Tolkienscholar Tom Shippey. The book chronicles the rise of the protagonist Shef, a bastard son of a Vikingand an English lady. The book is set in the 9th century England where Viking raids are common and presents an alternate history to the one we know.
Within this realm, author
Harry Harrisonbrings to light what may have happened if the Vikingsgave more of a fight against the rather harsh, at that point in time, rule of the Catholic Church. Central to this theme is protagonist Shef, a thrall under the eye of his stepfather Wulfgar, a ruthless thane of East Anglia. Early in the story an ambivalence concerning Shef's birth is introduced: Is Shef the son of the Norse god Ríg? Is he descended from a Viking named Sigvarth? The ambiguity holds through the trilogy.
The story begins, as previously stated, with Shef as a thrall in a thane's service. When he's not busy doing mundane tasks, Shef finds himself at the village blacksmith where his talents and an urge for invention live inside him. The action begins when Shef's stepsister Godive is taken by Sigvarth during his raid on their village. Shef and his friend Hund proceed to the encampment in which the Ragnarssons have inhabited.
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