Best 1973 Adventures (3)

By: Joshua Glenn
October 7, 2018

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1973 adventure novels. Happy 45th anniversary!

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Poul Anderson’s fantasy adventure Hrolf Kraki’s Saga.

What W.H. Auden once said of the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy — “Tolkien is fascinated with the whole Northern thing” — is equally true of Poul Anderson, whose Scandinavian-inflected fantasy novels Three Hearts and Three Lions (1953) and The Broken Sword (1954) deserve to be (but are not) at least as well-known as his celebrated Golden Age sci-fi novels. Hrolf Kraki’s Saga is a multi-generational tale, pieced together from various sagas and elaborated upon by the author, which eventually features as its protagonist a legendary 6th-century Danish king. Hrolf Kraki assembles a band of warriors, including Bodvar Bjarki, a were-bear (!), and takes them along as he seeks recompense — from Adhils, King of the Swedes — for the death of his father. Although they survive rigged tests of their prowess, and open conflict with Adhil’s men, they offend Odin — and Hrolf loses his luck in battle. A few years later, when one of his sub-kings (aided by a half-elven witch) raises an army against him, will Hrolf and his men survive?

Fun facts: First published, in paperback form, as an installment in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, edited by Lin Carter. Someone should make a movie of this yarn; the characters are amazing.

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JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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