The genre we know today as fantasy owes a lot to Norse mythology. Many fantastical creatures like giants, elves, and trolls have their origins in Scandinavian folklore and legend.
The Norse mythology books on this list take readers straight into the heart of this mythical world. From tales of Viking raiders to Asgardians walking around in our modern world, here are 11 fantasy books inspired by Norse mythology.
The Sword of Summer
Rick Riordan is best known for his beloved Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which chronicles the adventures of the children of Greek gods in the modern world. But in The Sword of Summer, Riordan takes on the world of Norse mythology.
An orphan living on the streets of Boston, Magnus Chase does not have an easy life. And when a mysterious stranger tells Magnus that someone is after him, things start to get weird.
In search of the truth, Magnus talks to his uncle, who reveals that his absent father is a Norse god. If that wasn’t a big enough shock, he learns that the gods are readying for war. The only thing standing in the way of Ragnarok is a sword Magnus’ father lost thousands of years ago, and now it’s up to him to track it down. He just has to die first.
The Broken Sword
The recipient of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, Poul Anderson is a legendary fantasy author. The Broken Sword tells the story of Skafloc, who was stolen from his father Orm the Strong and replaced by a changeling when he was a baby. He was brought to the elves and given Tyrfing, the legendary sword that had been broken by Thor.
Years later, both Skafloc and the changeling have grown into men, and the years-long tension between the elves and trolls has exploded into war. If not stopped, the war could mean the end of the gods. Only Tyrfing can sway the outcome, but Skafloc will have to defeat his counterpart if he ever hopes to restore order.
The Hammer and the Cross
In the ninth century, Viking raiders routinely attack the British Isles. While the warring kings of Britain swear allegiance to the Church, the Vikings are loyal to the Gods of Asgard. As the attacks continue, fighting is inevitable.
Among the raiders is Shef, the illegitimate son of a raider and an English captive. His skills as a warrior have allowed him to rise above his illegitimacy.
As his star rises, he receives continuous visions of new technology and strategies that can be used to take Britain for the gods—visions that may come from Odin himself.
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Detective Dirk Gently has a lot on his plate at the moment, and now he’s been called to investigate a seemingly-supernatural occurrence at London Heathrow Airport.
One moment, a guest was having an argument at the check-in desk, the next, he was engulfed in flames. Kate Schechter, an American journalist, was injured by the fire and teams up with Dirk to figure out just what’s going on.
Dirk is used to unusual cases, but the last thing he expects is for the angry airport guest to be the Norse god Thor. Now, he and Kate will have to handle an ancient father-son dispute and figure out how it connects back to the murder and that dirty refrigerator.
Vei, Vol. 1
After being discarded by the god she trained her whole life to serve, Vei returns to Jotunheim to prove herself once again.
When she arrives, she finds the land of the giants engulfed in the Meistarileikir, a violent conflict between mortals and immortals to determine who will rule Midgard.
Vei knows she is a fearsome warrior, but without the protection of her god, she will have to determine who—if anyone—she can really trust.
Magicians author Lev Grossman has said of this fantasy graphic novel, “even if, like me, you have a lifelong obsession with Norse myths, I promise you you’ve never seen them like this.”
The Wolf in the Whale
The Wolf in the Whale is a stirring combination of Norse and Inuit mythologies.
With her family teetering on the brink of starvation, Inuit shaman Omat sets out on a quest to reconnect with the gods. Along the way, she eventually meets Brandr, a Viking explorer.
But when the Inuits and Vikings encounter each other, the culture clash may be too much to bear. As Omat and Brandr grow closer, their respective gods begin to fight, driving the Vikings and the Inuits towards war.
War of the Gods
Another offering from Poul Anderson, War of the Gods blends Norse mythology with tales of a legendary Danish king.
After King Gram Skjoldung of Denmark’s son Hadding was born, he was taken away to be raised by giants at the behest of Odin.
Years later, Gram is murdered, and Hadding will have to battle monsters, humans, and the whims of the gods in order to take his rightful place on the throne.
In the world of Northern Wrath, doomsday is coming. A dead man who still lives between realms has a vision of the fall of Asgard.
The connection between the gods and Midgard is fading, and with a demon on the loose and bands of murderers working their way through villages, all hope seems lost.
The only hope for salvation comes in the form of a group of tribesmen and women who must find it within themselves to fight for everything they know and love.
Daughter of the Wind
Gauk wants nothing more than to become a berserker: a warrior specially chosen by Odin to fight with the strength of a wild bear.
After his best friend is killed by a bear, Gauk takes the animal down. As soon as he puts on the bear’s pelt, he feels the spirit of Odin within him and senses a calling unlike anything he’s ever felt.
When the Danes kidnap a Norwegian princess, Gauk sets out to rescue her. He knows Odin is leading him to his fate, and nothing will keep him from it.
The Gospel of Loki
Told through Loki's perspective, this epic tracks the ascent of the Asgardians—and their violent downfall.
After her husband kills her, Jace Berisha becomes Crow, a warrior in service of the Norse gods. She and her fellow Crows spend their time doing the gods' bidding and avoiding the Protectors, a clan of Vikings that exist solely to kill any Crow they encounter.
But everything changes when an ancient goddess reappears, determined to destroy the world. Now, the Crows and the Protectors will have to team up in order to stop a goddess in her tracks.
Jace is surprised when she meets Ski Eriksen. He’s not like any other Protectors she knows. He’s non-violent and he clearly has his eye on her. But will Jace be able to open her heart to him with the safety of the world on the line?
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