Lars Walker’s new Viking novel: free

Lars Walker, who frequents this blog, is a notable novelist who is also a  Christian, yea  Lutheran,  a master of  historical fantasy.  His fiction is generally wildly entertaining, while also being thought-provoking and spiritually edifying.  He has a new book out, a sequel to his wonderful Viking saga West Oversea.  The new book is entitled Hailstone Mountain (The Erling Skjalgsson Saga).  And you can get it as an electronic book for Kindle for FREE if you download it today only, April 16!  Get it here.

I haven’t read it yet, but am anxious to do so.  Here is a reader review by Phil Wade:

This is an absolute ripping yarn, as ripping a yarn as you are likely to find, and unlike some TV series, it’s steeped in solid historical detail. Do want a fun sense of how Vikings lived in 1000 A.D.? Read Lars’ Erling novels.

This one is the fourth, but the first two are combined into one book, The Year of the Warrior. Next comes West Oversea. . . . And here, Hailstone Mountain. brings us the courageous, noble Erling Skjalgsson stepping into the battle of his life.

First, he appears to be wasting away without reason. Father Ailill discerns he has been poisoned by magic and must find the magician to break the spell. Erling isn’t willing to risk everyone’s life on a quest to save his own, so his family and friends fear he will die, but when Lemming’s daughter disappears, they suspect she has been kidnapped by the minions of old magical people who kill select people in order to live forever. Whereas he would not fight for his life, Erling will fight against this abomination. That is what kicks everything off, and Lars doesn’t spend a chapter here and there describing the life cycle of trees. Each adventure builds to the next.

Lars’ heroes are epic sized, but they are also realistically drawn. They deal with honor, slavery, and bigotry just as their historic counterparts did. One of the moving threads in this book has German priests refusing to work with a pagan magician who has joined their team. They could not condone the work of the devil in this man (a fair idea), and yet their motives were also of the devil. Sometimes, Ailill is no better. I wonder if he had a greater concept of God’s magnificent grace and less of his own worthlessness, would he have spoken an apt word to these men, like he does to the pagan in the beginning, and temper their disdain? But bigotry runs deep, especially when its partially dug by religious convictions. It’s slow to correct course.

In a dark hour when Ailill is forced past his self-centered lethargy, he says, “It was an awful thing, to be the Beloved’s mouthpiece… But He does His work in the dark and deadly places, and His tools are easily broken, for He delights in turning them to unwonted uses.” Then he must speak the Word. He must tell his small congregation how he sees the world and what little hope he has for it, and he wrestles with God (not unlike Jacob did) over whether there’s any good in it.

And is there any good in the world? Though some men live to fight another day, many do not. Where is the good for them? Can’t tyranny be tolerated for the sake of a kind of peace? Can the slave live a meaningful life? These are the themes this book may leave you thinking over.

via Hailstone Mountain (The Erling Skjalgsson Saga): Lars Walker: Kindle Store.

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  • kempin04


    This is a fortuitous opportunity. I just finished reading “Troll Valley” a day ago, and I was considering how best to get back to you without hijacking a random thread. I’m no literary critic, but I thought you might be interested in a reader’s thoughts.

    First, thanks for the read. It was refreshingly different. Perhaps it was that, being raised on the fringe of the Norse Lutheran culture, (LCMS congregation in north western Wisconsin), I felt a certain claim to the picture you painted. It had a touch of the familiar in the midst of the exotic feel of a different “when.” It also had imagination, which I love, and theology–which surprised me, I think. I might add, at risk of sounding more acute than I am, that I appreciated the discipline of the pace. You didn’t rush to reveal, and that drew me in as I progressed.

    At any rate, I enjoyed it–which is in reality the only feedback in which you are likely interested. I am now curious to work my way through your other books, and I have no intention of rushing.

    I avoided reading the above review for spoilers, but may I presume that you would recommend starting with “West Oversea” before tackling “Hailstone Mountain?”

  • naturelady

    Excellent news! I had not previously heard of Lars Walker, but I am always on the lookout for good books. What a great opportunity to check out his writing. Only one concern- will I spoil the earlier books by reading this latest book first?

  • Booklover

    Can we also get it on nook?

  • Matthew

    Start with “Year of the Warrior.” Funny, fun, great commentary on vocation and a (brief) prescient examination of women in combat.

    What I want to know is, will “Hailstone Mountain” be available in customary dead tree format too?

  • Thanks for the words of praise, Kempin. I like to think all my books stand alone, and you can start anywhere, but if you’re kind of OCD like me, you might want to get Hailstone Mountain today (because free!), and also get The Year of the Warrior and Hailstone Mountain, the previous books in the series, in order. I’m happy to note that Baen Books has now made TYOTW available as an e-book (0nly).

    Booklover: A Nook version is coming, probably through Lulu, eventually. But for the present we’re kind of committed to Kindle alone.

  • Oops. In listing my Erling books, I should have said “and also get The Year of the Warrior and West Oversea…” West Oversea is only available on paper.

  • kerner


    I have read only one book of your, and it was Erling’s Word, which, I now fond, is retitled as Year of the Warrior. I looked for your other books, but had trouble finding them in print. I am old enough to prefer paper and print in my reading material. Are there any print versions to be found and, if so, where?

  • Kerne, “West Oversea” is available only in print. My other books can be gotten used. By the way, “The Year of the Warrior” is a double volume, including the sequel, “The Ghost of the God Tree.”

  • SKPeterson

    I read West Oversea and found it a great read. I

    Lars – I wonder if you’ve seen this on Kindle: Secret Murder – Who Shall Judge? by Ellen Kuhfeld. It was a free offer on Kindle and I also enjoyed it quite a bit. it is set in an alternate history where the Norse made more concerted efforts to penetrate into North America and the resulting mix of cultures as other nations come to the New World as well, and the Native Americans have not been felled by disease. You’re more of a critic than I am, but I found it enjoyable.

  • kempin04


    If I might ask, what is the sequence of the series, start to finish? I’d sort of like to read any connected novels in order, and I didn’t necessarily get that information from the website.

  • SKPeterson: No, I’m not familiar with the book.

    Kempino: The order is 1) The Year of the Warrior (which incorporates Erling’s Word), 2) West Oversea, and 3) Hailstone Mountain.

  • helen

    Not a Nook or Kindle person, so I shall have to get myself to “Half price(sometimes) Books”. 😉