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The Burning of Njal

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Title:The Burning of Njal
Treece, Henry   
(2 of 28 for author by title)
Castles and Kings
38 Poems
Published:   1964
Publisher:Criterion Books
Tags:fiction, juvenile, legends, Iceland, Norse

According to this story, based on fact, things got pretty hot in Iceland in the tenth and eleventh centuries. A harsh land and hard heroes make a grim story as swords, bows and axes are wielded in a series of engagements. Njal the Wise said ‘With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.’ This prediction comes true, inevitably, when stubborn pride and battle-oriented, blood-thirsty clans struggle to save face by seeking revenge with a vengeance. The book deals with the special heroes of the day: Gunnar, seemingly indestructible, who failed to heed the advice of Njal, preferring to solve his problems with brutal simplicity; Skarp-Hedin, son of Njal, who inherits Gunnar's reputation; Kari ‘who never forgot friend or forgave an enemy.’ It also deals with the odd code of justice prevalent at the time and the unique structure of the courts. The Icelanders found the way--not the why of his death particularly barbaric and a legend was born.--Kirkus Reviews. [Suggest a different description.]

Pages:135 Info

Author Bio for Treece, Henry

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Henry Treece (1911-1966) was one of the most prolific writers of historical fiction in the 20th Century. Born in Staffordshire, he mostly wrote prose fiction but he also published five collections of poems including The Haunted Garden in 1947. Together with writer J.F. Hendry (1912-1986) he was founder of the New Apocalyptics poetry group that was active in the 1930s.

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