Author: R. Scot Johns
Title: The Saga of Beowulf
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Fantasy Castle Books (Oct. 2008)
Genre: Heroic Fantasy
First Sentence: “Flames rose in the darkness, illuminating the scarred face of a grim warrior.”
The Saga of Beowulf is the first complete and accurate novelization of the epic Old English poem Beowulf, chronicling the tragic wars of the rising Nordic nations, the endless blood-feuds of their clans, battles with mythic creatures in an ancient heroic age, and the final, futile struggle of one man against the will of Fate that made of him a Legend.
The story follows the young Norse warrior Beowulf as he embarks upon a fateful quest for vengeance against the creature that slew his father, setting in motion a sequence of events that will bring about the downfall of a nation, all the while fleeing from the woman he has sworn to love. Based on extensive historical research and steeped in Nordic myth and lore, the saga unfolds across the frozen fields of Sweden and the fetid fens of Denmark, ranging from the rocky heights of Geatland to the sprawling battlefields of ancient France, as our hero battles men and demons in a quest to conquer his own fears.
“An epic adventure 1500 years in the making,” this classic tale now comes to life once more in a bold new retelling for a modern audience.
R. Scot Johns is a life-long student of ancient and medieval literature, with an enduring fascination for Norse mythology and epic fantasy. He first came to Beowulf through his love of J. R. R. Tolkien, a leading scholar on the subject. As an Honors Medieval Literature major he has given lectures on such topics as the historical King Arthur and the construction of Stonehenge. He owns and operates Fantasy Castle Books, his own publishing imprint, and writes the blog Adventures of an Independent Author, where you can follow his progress as he writes The Jester’s Quest, his second novel.
You can visit his website at www.fantasycastlebooks.com.
To the Unknown Poet…
Late in the third year of King Hrothgar’s reign the Great Hall of Heorot was completed at Lejre, and there was much joy in the land of the Danes. Denmark was then new-born, and only recently had the Scylding clan founded by Hrothgar’s far-father Sceaf risen to prominence in the rugged lands between the wild North Sea and the dark Baltic. The year was 503 and that joy was to be short-lived.
At that time the Danes had not yet spread across the Jutland peninsula which would one day become their home, but still clung to the cold, hard rock known then as Sea-Land, pressed hard on all sides by the raging ocean tides. Turbulent times would mold this sturdy people into a great seafaring race, proud and strong, whose descendants would range across the far reaches of the world in search of riches and fame. Vikings they would be called, and all who saw their sails would know fear and terror.
But that time had not yet come.
Another race was on the rise at that time as well. They dwelt upon the rocky western shores of Sweden, known then as Göta-Land, the land of the Geats, for so they were called. All along those shores they made their home, beside a frigid Northern Sea that swelled and crashed upon a broad and wild land of sprawling lakes and densely wooded slopes whose jagged peaks were crowned in spires of rugged stone. They, too, were a hearty folk and mighty in those days, already a proud seaworthy people who embraced the shores and the coastal lands that looked across high waves toward the southern island realm of the war-famed Danes. Many loved and feared them, and the tales told of their deeds are filled with dread and wonder.
But their Fate was to be far different from that of the Danes, or of the Swedes who would one day devour their lands, for they were doomed to perish utterly and to fade forever from this world. Yet they would not fall easily, nor fade quietly away, and before that hard day came upon them they would mark their passing with sword and song.
None can now say what poet first wove the words which tell their tale; the poet has fallen as surely as the warriors whose bold deeds he has set down in song. But though the name has perished, still the song remains: in Valhalla it is sung, and down the far corridors its echo may yet be heard.