The Vikings hold a particular place in the history of the West, both symbolically and in the significant impact they had on Northern Europe. Magnus Magnusson’s indispensable study of this great period presents a rounded and fascinating picture of a people who, in modern eyes, would seem to embody striking contradictions. They were undoubtedly pillagers, raiders and terrifying warriors, but they were also great pioneers, artists and traders – a dynamic people, whose skill and daring in their exploration of the world has left an indelible impression a thousand years on.

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