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Viking

When it comes to Viking romances, it seems the readers have their absolute favorites–over 200 readers responded to our query and although there are tons of Viking books out there, most nominated the same titles. For those who are curious, the most recommended title was Johanna Lindsey's Fires of Winter, with Heather Graham's Viking's Woman a close second. Thea Mileo, one of our Booksellers That Care, says "Fires of Winter is such a good Viking romance–we just can't keep it in stock!" Although we have many classics listed for this favorite theme, not too many Viking-theme romances are being released in today's romance market.

Most readers will agree that a Viking "plunders" like no other hero! These warriors were indeed ferocious and terrible yet many were also poets who appreciated the written word and so prized their language, that to this day, it remains intact. The ancient Viking eddas and sagas, cherished documents which tell the history of these brave warriors, are preserved in vaults, and like the wonderful books written about Vikings today are treasures to be read again and again.

What's The Appeal?

Vikings. Call them what you will: heathens, barbarians, brutal savages or "The Scourge of the North." But do realize that these tall, blonde, strikingly handsome Nordic warriors were as busy winning hearts as they were conquering nations!

Brutal they were, a monk wrote about the arrival of the first Vikings in Northumberland, "they were like stinging wasps and they spread in all directions like horrible wolves, wrecking, robbing, shattering, and killing. These heathens came and slayed everything alive."

If these warriors were so monstrous, why do they appeal to us gentle romance readers? Because Viking heroes are the epitome of the alpha male! As much as we proclaim a desire for independence, we do indeed fantasize about being dominated by a fierce barbarian (the right one anyway!). Alan Alda may be an OK mate in the 20th century, but he wouldn't make a very good protector in the ninth or tenth century.

Women love the fantasy of domesticating the barbarian; there really is is nothing like "taming" a wild beast. Just ask any romance reader–she knows how it should be done! No matter how fierce these warriors, there weren't many women who could resist the charms of these Scandinavian heroes. For like Odin (Viking God of War, Wisdom and Poetry) they had the mind and body of a warrior but the heart of a poet.

History allows us to be reflective. And in retrospect, the Vikings were impressive as a culture and as conquerors. At a time when travel was at its most difficult, Vikings were inveterate adventurers, founding and conquering colonies all over the globe.

However, no culture likes to be dominated by another. Unfortunately, prejudice is part of human nature. The Saxons and the Normans had good reason to hate the Vikings. Yet, when they came to know the Vikings as people–they discovered they had much to learn and much to love.

-Kate Ryan



RECOMMENDED READS

(Note: The list below was compiled at press time: Romantic Times Issue #163, October 1997)

Historical

  • SWAN ROAD Rebecca Brandewyne (Warner)
  • BELOVED VIKING Betty Brooks (Zebra)
  • THE BARBARIAN PRINCESS Laura Buchanan (B. Weis & Assoc.)
  • BY LOVE ENSLAVED Phoebe Conn (Zebra)
  • LORD OF FALCON RIDGE Catherine Coulter (Jove)
  • LORD OF HAWKFELL ISLAND Catherine Coulter (Jove)
  • LORD OF RAVEN'S PEAK Catherine Coulter (Jove)
  • SEASON OF THE SUN Catherine Coulter (Onyx)
  • VIKING'S PRIZE Tanya Anne Crosby (Jove)
  • VIKING ECSTASY Robin Gideon (Zebra)
  • THE DEFIANT HEART Anita Gordon (Berkley)
  • THE VALIANT HEART Anita Gordon (Berkley)
  • GOLDEN SURRENDER Heather Graham (Dell)
  • LORD OF THE WOLVES Heather Graham (Dell)
  • THE VIKING'S WOMAN Heather Graham (Dell)
  • GENTLE WARRIOR Kathryn Hockett (Zebra)
  • TARA'S SONG Barbara Ferry Johnson (Avon)
  • THE CONQUEROR Brenda Joyce (Dell)
  • MY WARRIOR'S HEART Betina Krahn (Avon)
  • FLAME FROM THE SEA Kathryn Kramer (Charter)
  • FIRES OF WINTER Johanna Lindsey (Avon)
  • HEARTS AFLAME Johanna Lindsey (Avon)
  • SURRENDER MY LOVE Johanna Lindsey (Avon)
  • UNTIL FOREVER Johanna Lindsey (Avon) Time-Travel
  • FORBIDDEN Elizabeth Lowell (Avon)
  • VIKING CAPTIVE Emma Merritt (Zebra)
  • PAGAN'S PRIZE Miriam Minger (Jove)
  • TWIN PASSIONS Miriam Minger (Paperjacks)
  • PRINCESS OF THE VEIL Helen Mittermeyer (Bantam)
  • SEA JEWEL Penelope Neri (Zebra)
  • VIKING FLAME Ashland Price (Zebra)
  • VIKING ROSE Ashland Price (Zebra)
  • MIRANDA'S VIKING Maggie Shayne (Silh #568)

Contemporary

  • VIKING PASSION Flora Speer (Leisure)
  • THE VIKING'S BRIDE Julie Tetel (Popular Library)
  • BELOVED ENCHANTRESS Joan Van Nuys (Leisure)
  • UNWILLING BETRAYER Joan Van Nuys (Dorchester)
  • THE WOLF AND THE DOVE Kathleen Woodiwiss (Avon)


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