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Warrior Lore is the second collection of Scandinavian folk ballads translated into English verse by Ian Cumpstey, following Lord Peter and Little Kerstin. These narrative ballads were part of an oral tradition in Scandinavia, and were first written down around 1600. Included in this book are stories of heroes and fighters, Vikings, and trolls. The legendary hero Widrick Wa Warrior Lore is the second collection of Scandinavian folk ballads translated into English verse by Ian Cumpstey, following Lord Peter and Little Kerstin. These narrative ballads were part of an oral tradition in Scandinavia, and were first written down around 1600. Included in this book are stories of heroes and fighters, Vikings, and trolls. The legendary hero Widrick Waylandsson comes face to face with a troll in the forest. Thor resorts to cross-dressing in a bid to recover his stolen hammer. The daughter of the King of Sweden is abducted from a convent in the Swedish countryside. A young fighter has to show off his prowess in skiing and shooting for King Harald Hardrada. And more... All the ballads included are: Widrick Waylandsson's Fight with Long-Ben Reyser; Twelve Strong Fighters; Hilla-Lill; Sir Hjalmar; The Hammer Hunt; The Stablemates; Sven Swan-White; The Cloister Raid; Heming and the Mountain Troll; Heming and King Harald.


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Warrior Lore is the second collection of Scandinavian folk ballads translated into English verse by Ian Cumpstey, following Lord Peter and Little Kerstin. These narrative ballads were part of an oral tradition in Scandinavia, and were first written down around 1600. Included in this book are stories of heroes and fighters, Vikings, and trolls. The legendary hero Widrick Wa Warrior Lore is the second collection of Scandinavian folk ballads translated into English verse by Ian Cumpstey, following Lord Peter and Little Kerstin. These narrative ballads were part of an oral tradition in Scandinavia, and were first written down around 1600. Included in this book are stories of heroes and fighters, Vikings, and trolls. The legendary hero Widrick Waylandsson comes face to face with a troll in the forest. Thor resorts to cross-dressing in a bid to recover his stolen hammer. The daughter of the King of Sweden is abducted from a convent in the Swedish countryside. A young fighter has to show off his prowess in skiing and shooting for King Harald Hardrada. And more... All the ballads included are: Widrick Waylandsson's Fight with Long-Ben Reyser; Twelve Strong Fighters; Hilla-Lill; Sir Hjalmar; The Hammer Hunt; The Stablemates; Sven Swan-White; The Cloister Raid; Heming and the Mountain Troll; Heming and King Harald.

30 review for Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Folk Ballads

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    This was a lot of fun to read. It's a collection of medieval Scandinavian folk ballads. The translator did his best to make the ballads understandable and to replicate the rhythm and rhyming scheme as much as possible in translation. I've never read anything like this before and I found it quite delightful. I also enjoyed the allusions to Norse myths, such as the Volundarkvitha and the Thrymskvitha from The Poetic Edda. This was a lot of fun to read. It's a collection of medieval Scandinavian folk ballads. The translator did his best to make the ballads understandable and to replicate the rhythm and rhyming scheme as much as possible in translation. I've never read anything like this before and I found it quite delightful. I also enjoyed the allusions to Norse myths, such as the Volundarkvitha and the Thrymskvitha from The Poetic Edda.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    A beautiful collection of sixteenth century Scandinavian folk ballads wonderfully translated by Cumpstey. Detail information provided adding to the impact of individual ballads. Ten ballads, all varied offering warrior strength, melancholy, and humor as well. You’ll be engrossed with heroes, royalty, and even romance. No worries, cross dressing Thor is included in the collection. Lovers of mythology and folk tales, will enjoy this collection from a very competent translator, Ian Cumpstey.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Very, very enjoyable! I'm a bit of a geek about Scandinavian folklore, so this was quite a treat. See my full review here: https://raeleighreads.wordpress.com/2... Cheers! Very, very enjoyable! I'm a bit of a geek about Scandinavian folklore, so this was quite a treat. See my full review here: https://raeleighreads.wordpress.com/2... Cheers!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Poetry is not really my thing, but this ticked off one of the boxes for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2017. I actually liked it more than I thought I would, but I can't say that I will make poetry reading part of my regular rotation. I did enjoy some of the stories in this collection though. Poetry is not really my thing, but this ticked off one of the boxes for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2017. I actually liked it more than I thought I would, but I can't say that I will make poetry reading part of my regular rotation. I did enjoy some of the stories in this collection though.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.B. Garner

    From jbgarner58.wordpress.com: One of the things I am starting to appreciate as a reviewer and connoisseur of fine literary fare is the wide variety of foods that I find sent to my doorstep. Today’s meal is one of those outliers beyond my normal meals and I appreciate it having shown up on my dinner plate. Now, as always, let’s get the ground rules out of the way: I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre. I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible. Nu From jbgarner58.wordpress.com: One of the things I am starting to appreciate as a reviewer and connoisseur of fine literary fare is the wide variety of foods that I find sent to my doorstep. Today’s meal is one of those outliers beyond my normal meals and I appreciate it having shown up on my dinner plate. Now, as always, let’s get the ground rules out of the way: I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre. I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible. Number 1 I find vitally important to reiterate for Warrior Lore. Look, if you don’t have an interest in Scandinavian folk ballads, you won’t even be looking to read this book, even on a wild lark. HOWEVER, that is not how I judge my literary repasts. So, putting myself into the shoes of a someone who has an interest in mythology and folk ballads (I actually AM quite a mythology fan!), how did Warrior Lore go down my throat, good, bad, or meh? Well, to be quite plain, Mr. Cumpstey has whipped up a fluffy, light confection of a book. It is a quick read, at least on the surface, and that isn’t a bad thing. Warrior Lore focuses almost entirely on the translated folk ballads themselves. Each one is prefaced by a short but detailed explanation of the main bits of information an unfamiliar reader would need to know to understand the tale, then plunges straight into the verses themselves. I found this to be a tasty and effective bit of pacing, letting each verse stand on its own, even when dealing with ballads with common characters or interconnections. You’re never distracted by excessive author analysis but you’re not left without a menu wondering just what the heck this thing is on your plate. There could be, however, a valid argument that at times Mr. Cumpstey could add a little more detailed analysis after each ballad, once the reader has had a chance to make their own decisions on theme and meeting. There is a little of this in each introduction, but overall there is little analysis, especially of theme, and that’s something I would have enjoyed seeing. I feel we read mythology and ancient tales not just for entertainment but to gain insights on our past and the cultures of old and I felt a little empty at the end not having the author’s much more educated insights on these things. And … that’s really it. It isn’t that this wasn’t a fulfilling meal, it’s just that it is, well, a small course. I would guess maybe 60 to 70 pages on my reader, including the foreword and table of contents. In the end, there isn’t much to say that is non-spoilerish simply because of the size and the more academic format of the book itself. Now, with that being said, how did I rate the meal? Well, again, looking at it from the viewpoint of a lover of mythology, I have to give Warrior Lore a solid rating. It does its job well and presents the warrior ballads inside with excellent translations and introductions but it falls just a bit short of perfection to me with its lack of in-depth analysis. Still, if you are a lover of mythology and folk tales, I’d recommend picking up this tasty morsel for an afternoon meal. FINAL VERDICT – **** (Light, fluffy, and flavorful but lacking a little weighty input to be perfect)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Parrish Lantern

    Warrior Lore is a collection of Scandinavian folk ballads, translated by Ian Cumpstey. They would have formed part of the oral tradition of storytelling that has probably been part of human nature from the very early days of speech, with our ancestors huddled around open fires gaining an understanding of the world around them, expressing their fears, their beliefs, and their ideals of heroism through the recasting of their experiences in this narrative form. These narrative songs would have been Warrior Lore is a collection of Scandinavian folk ballads, translated by Ian Cumpstey. They would have formed part of the oral tradition of storytelling that has probably been part of human nature from the very early days of speech, with our ancestors huddled around open fires gaining an understanding of the world around them, expressing their fears, their beliefs, and their ideals of heroism through the recasting of their experiences in this narrative form. These narrative songs would have been sung for centuries before ballads of this nature were formalised on paper sometime around the sixteenth century and as such would have been known throughout Northern Europe. There are ten Ballads in this collection: Widrick Waylandson's fight with Long-Ben Reyser. Twelve strong fighters. Hilla-Lill. Sir Hjalmar. The Hammer Hunt. The Stablemates. Sven Swan-White. The Cloister Raid. Heming and the Mountain Troll. Heming and King Harald. Each ballad starts with an introduction by Ian Cumpstey, explaining what the ballad refers to - setting the scene and also some of the history of the narrative, alternate versions etc. There is also a preface to the collection giving some background detail to the works featured and a notes section providing information on which versions of the tales he based his translations on. Most of the collection is based on the Swedish tradition, with one exception Heming and King Harald, which derives from the Norwegian. The form of the verse is predominantly in a four-line format in which the second and fourth line rhyme (ABCB), which may or may not be followed by a chorus line or lines. King Diderick he sat in Bern, And he gazed out so wide: "I never knew a fighter, "Who'd challenge me to fight". There stands a castle at Bern And there lives King Diderick. Answered Bernard Wifaring, He'd travelled far and wide: "There is a fighter in Bortingsburgh, "Who you'd not dare fight". King Diderick took him by the throat, And then took out his knife: "You'll show me who that fighter is, "Or it'll cost you your life". (Extract from Widrick Waylandson's fight with Long-Ben Reyser.) Confession time, my knowledge of these warriors, Gods and heroes is quite limited - beyond the obvious ones such as Thor, Freya & Loki my understanding falls drastically short. Which is quite pitiful especially as I consider myself to have a reasonable knowledge of Greek & Roman mythology & yet as a Northern European, I seem to have missed out on what is part of my own heritage, add to this the fact that Hollywood seems, through Marvell comics, to be co-opting certain Gods & heroes for its own mythology - making this book a welcome addition to my library. By giving me an understanding of this world and its heroes with all their characteristics, all their love & hate, all their foibles, their bawdy or violent nature intact and before they have been face-lifted or photo shopped beyond recognition. This is also a great book for dipping in and out of, erudite enough to make one want to learn more and yet still light enough that you can just dip in when the urge takes you.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carmen C.

    Review brought by Geekly Review ‘Warrior Lore’, by Ian Cumpstey, is a collection of translated Scandinavian folk songs first written in the 1600s. This particular review concerns the ebook version, and as such I can’t comment on how the paperback version is (though I plan on purchasing it soon to see how it is). The folk songs detail various stories of Scadinavian lore and folklore; numbering ten in total, and are presented in the form of ballads in lyrical format of varying lengths. The enjoy Review brought by Geekly Review ‘Warrior Lore’, by Ian Cumpstey, is a collection of translated Scandinavian folk songs first written in the 1600s. This particular review concerns the ebook version, and as such I can’t comment on how the paperback version is (though I plan on purchasing it soon to see how it is). The folk songs detail various stories of Scadinavian lore and folklore; numbering ten in total, and are presented in the form of ballads in lyrical format of varying lengths. The enjoyment one can derive from this title relates directly to one’s enjoyment of this particular genre, mainly that involving folklore and mythology. As a fan of it, when being asked to review ‘Warrior Lore’, I couldn’t help but say yes. The stories themselves are entertaining, and include a wide range of plots. From a quest to improve one’s fighting ability to the famous Norse mythology story involving Thor cross-dressing to retrieve Mjolnir. Some are funny and others much sadder, but overall they are wonderful and really enjoyable. As they are presented in lyrical format I took the time to first read them for myself and then aloud, and they didn’t disappoint at all. It is always a pleasure to get to know more about the folklore of various countries. Though I’m not that familiar with Scandinavian mythos aside from those involving Norse mythology, this book wasn’t hard to read at all. Instead it being informative and easy to get into. Additionally they also flowed well, something very welcome to see in a translation of a lyrical nature. It isn’t easy to translate a work and remain loyal to the source in its entirey, and much more if the translation doesn’t involve prose. Before each ballad there’s also a description provided detailing the plot of it as well as some other details, such as those involving translations, which helped fill any gaps that one might have when thinking about the stories themselves whilst reading them. As for the translation I don’t feel particularly qualified to give a good review of it. My knowledge of the original language of these stories is null, and as such to give a review of it would be vastly unfair on Ian Cumpstey’s work. As with the plot, all the ballads flowed smoothly and well, and didn’t seem boring or disappointing at any part. ‘Warrior Lore’ proved to be a wonderful return for me to this particular genre, which I come to like more and more as I continue exploring it. I love the mythological creatures it presented and how the stories themselves were presented, and it clearly does a solid job at presenting the ballads very well for the English reader. Though a short book, it is well worth to read if you are interested in the genre, and won’t disappoint you. It clearly sits for me in a rating of 4 out of 5, and I encourage anyone who enjoys mythology and folklore to give it a try whether for the stories themselves or the translations for those who are more interested in contrasting with other versions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Larry Eissler

    Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads was published by author Ian Cumpstey in May of 2014. Warrior Lore is a book that's written exactly as it sounds, a book containing songs and ballads of Scandinavian descent. Some ballads contain figures that most people will identify with (such as Sigurd and Thor), while others contain new heroes to delight ourselves with. I'd like to thank Mr. Cumpstey for asking me to review his book and let him know that I found the ballads delightful. Warrior Lore is Mr. Cum Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads was published by author Ian Cumpstey in May of 2014. Warrior Lore is a book that's written exactly as it sounds, a book containing songs and ballads of Scandinavian descent. Some ballads contain figures that most people will identify with (such as Sigurd and Thor), while others contain new heroes to delight ourselves with. I'd like to thank Mr. Cumpstey for asking me to review his book and let him know that I found the ballads delightful. Warrior Lore is Mr. Cumpstey's second publishing, the first was Lord Peter and Little Kerstin: Mediaeval Ballads from Sweden published in April 2013. Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads covers a wide array of folk ballads translated from Scandinavian to English with no perceivable error in translation. While reading them, the ballads seemed to emit their own rhythm and I soon found myself singing them myself. Sadly it wouldn't be possible for me to do a review for each of the ballads contained in the book, so I'm going to pick one of my favorite and leave the remainder for the reader to enjoy. One thing I would recommend to Mr. Cumpstey is if he ever publishes a revised edition to this book, I hope you might add a Table of Contents. A TOC for this book would make it a lot easier for readers to be able to quickly find their favorite ballads by looking up the page number it starts on. The Hammer Hunt. I love this ballad because it contains one of my favorite Norse gods, Thor. After watching the T.V. show Vikings I gained a little more knowledge on Viking mythology but I'm always looking to learn more. This ballad features the legendary Thor, his brother Loki, the Goddess Freya, and Thrym the Troll. As Thor discovers his hammer is missing, he dispatches his brother Loki to fly (literally fly) out in search of it, starting with the prime suspect Thrym the Troll. Thrym, who admits to stealing the hammers, tells Loki that in order for Thor to have his beloved hammer returned Thrym is to marry the Goddess Freya. For those that don't know, Freya was often considered the goddess of love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, war, and death. This would make her an amazing catch in terms of forced marriages, especially if you're known as being a Troll. It was Freya's erotic qualities that made her an easy target for the institutionalization of Christianity's attempts to demonize the old gods. I suspect that it would be these same erotic qualities that led Thrym to make such a foolhardy decision. Nonetheless, Thrym's fate is sealed as Loki flies back to his brother Thor and Goddess Freya to relate the news about the hammer and supposed wedding. Both not pleased with the turn of events, Thor concocts a plan to not only get his hammer back but save Freya from marrying the devious Troll. Would you like to know how Thor did this? Unless you've heard this story before, you're just going to have to read the rest in Ian Cumpstey's latest book Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads.

  9. 5 out of 5

    S.J.A. Turney

    Something a bit different for you tonight. Something a little removed from the usual historical fiction. Scandinavian history is one of my more peripheral hobbies, rather than something I focus on. I have a basic grasp of the history and the lore, and I love the 13th warrior and The Vikings. I enjoyed the novels by Giles Kristian and Rob Low. And I loved running my fingers over the carvings of Viking names in the Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. But really, all that is VIKING stuff. Scandinavian, yes, Something a bit different for you tonight. Something a little removed from the usual historical fiction. Scandinavian history is one of my more peripheral hobbies, rather than something I focus on. I have a basic grasp of the history and the lore, and I love the 13th warrior and The Vikings. I enjoyed the novels by Giles Kristian and Rob Low. And I loved running my fingers over the carvings of Viking names in the Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. But really, all that is VIKING stuff. Scandinavian, yes, but thoroughly Odin-based ship sailing, axe-wielding, treasure-hunting, monastery-sacking rape-and-pillage merchants. So this short collection is different in two very important ways. Firstly, it's not a novel. So remember that before you rush out expecting it to be one. This is a collection of Scandinavian folk tales translated in verse from old forms. It is, in essence, a book of translated poetry of Scandinavian epic style. Secondly, it is not about Vikings. In fact, despite a few famous names turning up in it and the obligatory appearance of trolls, it actually bears much more resemblance to the medieval tales of King Arthur. This is more a collection of tales about unfortunate knights, swooning ladies, evil tricksters and some disastrous misunderstandings that end in very Hamlet-esque scenes of utter carnage. These tales are, in short, tales of Christian medieval Scandinavia, twisted here and there with the addition of more ancient lore. Even the famous Harald Hardrada turns up here more resembling a medieval baron than the last of the great vikings. Clearly Cumpstey knows his subject and the language, and the translations are therefore pretty much spot on, easy for the reader and seemingly close to the original feel. Here and there, it feels as though the translation has hit a pebble and detoured, but that is the problem with translating something as personal as poetry. It is not straightforward and what sits well with one reader might not appeal to the next. Each of the tales in this book is introduced by the author with a little background and explanation, though about halfway through, I decided to skip the intros and read the poems first, since I had realised I was going into every tale already knowing what to expect. And when I did this I had more fun, picking the story from the poetry and then reading the intro afterwards to confirm things and find out what I'd not noticed. So to sum up, this is a lovely little collection that covers a subject I doubt many of us are particularly familiar with and does it with grace and panache, and a great deal of academic knowledge pressed into it. It won't necessarily suit those of you who read your historical works to watch Romans cleave barbarians into pastrami, but for those of you with an interest in the skaldic lore of medieval Scandinavia, or just those who feel intrigued, it is a nice collection to read. It now sits on my kindle next to my collection of Imādu d-Dīn Nasīmī's works. Boy, am I starting to look clever!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Being a Scandinavian-Canadian has its’ perks. One of those perks was initial familiarity with the subject matter of Ian Cumpstey’s translative poetic work Warrior Lore, published in 2014 by Skaldi Press. Receiving Warrior Lore fed my eyes with the soft and calming watercolour art of a Smith at work in a cerulean-tinted landscape. It promised the familiar brush strokes of solid story and gripping meter and in no place has Cumpstey disappointed. Scandinavian Poetry is resplendent with sweeping tal Being a Scandinavian-Canadian has its’ perks. One of those perks was initial familiarity with the subject matter of Ian Cumpstey’s translative poetic work Warrior Lore, published in 2014 by Skaldi Press. Receiving Warrior Lore fed my eyes with the soft and calming watercolour art of a Smith at work in a cerulean-tinted landscape. It promised the familiar brush strokes of solid story and gripping meter and in no place has Cumpstey disappointed. Scandinavian Poetry is resplendent with sweeping tales and shield-beating rhythm & meter. The language can be ornate or straightforward, but it is always a fascinating and blood-rising read. While reading Warrior Lore’s poem Twelve Strong Fighters I found myself bobbing along to the meter and mumbling the poem aloud. It brought back my childhood, where seated by my grandfather’s couch I’d listen to his captivating stories in the living room of our house in Vancouver. He’d been old Norwegian stock, his father having come from the motherland with the promise of a farm in the Canadian prairies. It's a rare and precious work that brings me singing backward to an early age and I applaud Cumpstey's poetry for the pleasure. Cumpstey’s poem Hilla-Lill left me weeping cathartically and raising my glass of 2013 Cabernet Merlot (Calliope Winery) in a toast to the sweeping tale of lovers, brothers and battles lost. While the meter of the poetry is skipped and stilted a few times, it’s easy to pick back up. To say I enjoyed Warrior Lore is to be euphemistic. I love this book. I recommend it to every poetry lover, everyone whose cracked open the spine of a Thor comic, and anyone who enjoys the finer statements of Northern European culture. Cumpstey writes with a single-minded brilliance in respecting the sanctity of the original story. Simultaneously guttural and passionate, the ballads strike the bell-hearted clarion call of undying legends while the short introductions to each piece share an academic’s inspection of the similitude of Scandinavian lore’s many converging versions. Anyone who has enjoyed the Marvel movies Thor, The Avengers and Thor II will adore The Hammer Hunt, a re-telling of the Norse myth where Thor recovers his stolen hammer Mjolnir by joining up with Loki, dressing in drag and pretending to be a bride in order to dupe a thieving troll. The story is as hilarious as it is battle-thirsty and it’s been another of my favourites as I grew from a fascinated little girl to a young woman passionate about the study of gender in myth. As a collection, Warrior Lore has a few examples of the virile Viking Libido and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to read Warrior Lore in front of a crackling campfire surrounded by the woodlands of the Canadian Pacific West Coast. It lends itself to be read and re-read. Congratulations to Ian Cumpstey for bringing this project to fruition! Review: 5/5

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    Loved it! Here are seven reasons why... 1. The translated lyrics flow smoothly, with a feeling of great simplicity -- which no doubt took lots of skill and effort to cultivate! Translator Ian Cumpstey spent eight years in Sweden, where he absorbed the language and marveled at the integration of music into daily life. 2. The lyrics themselves are front and center. Short intros to each ballad enhanced my appreciation without overburdening me (a casual reader) with scholarly detail: Cumpstey provide Loved it! Here are seven reasons why... 1. The translated lyrics flow smoothly, with a feeling of great simplicity -- which no doubt took lots of skill and effort to cultivate! Translator Ian Cumpstey spent eight years in Sweden, where he absorbed the language and marveled at the integration of music into daily life. 2. The lyrics themselves are front and center. Short intros to each ballad enhanced my appreciation without overburdening me (a casual reader) with scholarly detail: Cumpstey provides a helpful summary, and then lets the ballad speak (or sing?) for itself. 3. There's something shattering about a tale of great trauma rendered so simply and directly...! Although as gory as Grimm's tales, many of these medieval songs evoke remarkable compassion in few words. For example, the ballad "Hilla-Lill" tells the fate of a lady who-- by consenting to an unsuccessful elopement-- furthered the slaughter of her father, lover, and six of her brothers: "My brother he wanted to have me killed, My mother she wanted to have me sold. "And so I was sold for a bell so new, It hangs in the church of St. Mary now. "My mother she heard the chime of the bell, And broken her heart into pieces fell." Along the same lines... 4. Female suffering is voiced. These songs don't posit that fairytale women will live happily ever after, Disney style. Rather, the wives and daughters of legendary knights can-- and do-- lose all that is dear to them in a single battle; and even a lasting marriage can be far from romantic. "Yes you took my serving girl, And lay on the pillows of blue, But me you've pulled me by my hair, And cursed and beaten too," Elin accuses her husband from her deathbed. She refuses to forgive him-- and who could blame her? (Well, the Victorians. Maybe.) 5. Still, the women of these ballads aren't saintly. After Cumpstey's introduction described one young lady as "playing hard to get," I had to laugh out loud-- for she'd posted her suitors' severed heads on stakes outside her home! Yet the gentlemen callers kept right on coming. 6. Oh yes--and there's humor, too. Really! For example, a crossdressing Thor nearly gives away his game by revealing a less than delicate appetite. (I enjoyed this version of Thor's famous search for his lost hammer-- the only tale remotely familiar to me, by the way! All else was new.) 7. Homeschool potential. I could imagine high school students using this work to ease into early literature, or to sample from a different cultural context. Each ballad and its introduction read easily in one brief sitting, yet offer plenty of material for thought and discussion. Disclosure: The author/translator gifted me a Kindle copy of this work in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Murtha

    What a thoroughly delightful book this is. Ian Cumpstey, a chemist and litterateur from the Northwest of England who spent a number of years living in Sweden, set himself the challenge in this and his earlier volume, Lord Peter and Little Kerstin: Medieval Ballads from Sweden, of conveying the energy and entertainment of medieval Scandinavian ballad poetry in vigorous, accessible, popular language. He has thoroughly succeeded in this goal. In his Preface, Cumpstey situates these ballads at the in What a thoroughly delightful book this is. Ian Cumpstey, a chemist and litterateur from the Northwest of England who spent a number of years living in Sweden, set himself the challenge in this and his earlier volume, Lord Peter and Little Kerstin: Medieval Ballads from Sweden, of conveying the energy and entertainment of medieval Scandinavian ballad poetry in vigorous, accessible, popular language. He has thoroughly succeeded in this goal. In his Preface, Cumpstey situates these ballads at the intersection of poetry, song, storytelling, and legend. Warrior Lore focuses on fighting heroes and their memorable deeds, some of which end well, some tragically, some comically. The ballad form was (still is, to the extent that anyone wishes to exploit it) highly flexible in tone. Therefore, within an 81-page volume containing ten poems about great warriors, there is nonetheless considerable variety. “Widrick Waylandsson’s Fight with Long-Ben Reyser” and “Twelve Strong Fighters” are a twinned pair of fighting ballads with a vein of high-spirited comedy, which together comprise a single story. Two ballads about the young sportsman Heming find him showing off his skiing skills, thwarting a troll, getting the girl, even besting a king. “Hilla-Lill,” “Sir Hjalmar,” and “The Cloister Raid” look at women’s tragedies within the context of a warrior culture; “The Stablemates” has a more positive romantic outcome. Confirmed medievalists and Scandinavian enthusiasts will eat all this up. Who else? Well, this material, and the Poetic Edda that came before it, has a lineage that extends into modern pop culture on several fronts. There is a Thor ballad here, “The Hammer Hunt,” that should charm fans of the Marvel super-hero, whether those who began with the comic books in the Sixties, or followers of the more recent movies. The Thor comics were my first exposure to this legendary world, so I can speak from personal experience. J.R.R. Tolkien was also inspired by the traditional Scandinavian corpus of poetry. One sees Aragorn’s and Faramir’s forebears everywhere in Warrior Lore. Cumpstey also includes a riddle song, “Sven Swan-White,” that irresistibly brings to mind the riddle scene between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum in The Hobbit that has such far-reaching implications in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Riddling appears to have lost some steam as a popular activity these days, but Cumpstey reminds us why it has been traditionally and deeply enjoyed in most human cultures. I think it is far from accidental that a rural Englishman should find this poetry congenial. English poetry has its origins in Scandinavian poetry, after all – think of Beowulf. A world of poetic adventure that has long been lost to most readers is perfectly recoverable with Ian Cumpstey’s enthusiastic assistance.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy (Lost in a Good Book)

    Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review. This collection is a translation of numerous Scandinavian ballads going back to the 1600s in written form, and much farther in the oral tradition. They tell stories of Viking battles, fights for ladies hands, and battles against mountain trolls. The ballads themselves are not very long and with only ten in the collection this is a fairly quick read. Cumpstey explains beforehand what each ballad is about and yet this does not ruin the readin Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review. This collection is a translation of numerous Scandinavian ballads going back to the 1600s in written form, and much farther in the oral tradition. They tell stories of Viking battles, fights for ladies hands, and battles against mountain trolls. The ballads themselves are not very long and with only ten in the collection this is a fairly quick read. Cumpstey explains beforehand what each ballad is about and yet this does not ruin the reading because as you read each ballad you recollect the explanation and it helps understand it more so. This means you are able to focus on other aspects of the ballad rather than trying to work out the meaning of the story. The ballads themselves are quite interesting and Cumpstey's words evoke vivid images and history, making it easy to imagine they took place centuries ago in a Scandinavian forest. The translation from the Scandinavian is smooth and each story is easy to understand. Cumpstey maintains the narrative yet lyrical nature with his translation making it remain ballad like rather than poetry and whether read aloud or silently there is a natural rhythm that is easily established. Each ballad is different from one another, both in story and in style. There is humour in the ballads making them light and entertaining, but there are also those that show more violence. Cumpstey's writing is clever though and he is quite skilled at making the darker and more violent ballads straightforward and without much brutality, but at the same time in no way makes them less serious or important in nature. The ballads cover various legendary characters in Scandinavian history such as Widrick Waylandsson, as well as Diderick of Bern and Siva Snare Sven. Possibly more familiar figures such as Thor and Loki, the gods of Norse myth, are also featured, though they are known here as Thor-karl and Locke Leve. There are a range of characters and figures through these ballads and they contain stories about trolls, Vikings, kings, heroes and fighters alike. The characters are presented well, even in the limitations of verse, and Cumpstey uses their actions to aid the description and understanding of who these characters are. As a lover of history as well as myths and legends, I loved reading about these figures who have had their names live on through history through ballads and the written word for centuries. By bringing these stories together Cumpstey has created a collection that brings some possibly unknown stories and names to a wider audience in a way that is informative, interesting, engaging, and certainly enjoyable. This review was also published on my blog https://lostinagoodbk.wordpress.com/2...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hildegart

    Synopsis: When I first started writing this review, I was struggling with what all to include for the synopsis. I looked at the official blurb, again, and decided I would let it do the writing. Cover Art: This is one of the illustrations that accompanies the text in Warrior Lore. I took a look at some of the other illustrations from the book that are on Ian Cumpstey’s website and am impressed. Granted, the illustrations are not Van Gogh, Rembrandt, or Warhol, but for me, they sure fit with the b Synopsis: When I first started writing this review, I was struggling with what all to include for the synopsis. I looked at the official blurb, again, and decided I would let it do the writing. Cover Art: This is one of the illustrations that accompanies the text in Warrior Lore. I took a look at some of the other illustrations from the book that are on Ian Cumpstey’s website and am impressed. Granted, the illustrations are not Van Gogh, Rembrandt, or Warhol, but for me, they sure fit with the ballads! My Thoughts: If you are interested in mythology or Scandinavian history, this is a must read! There is not a lot of Scandinavian folklore that has been translated to English, so this is a true find! The ballads are short and easy to read, not like some of those epic poems out there that may or may not hold your attention for the entire story. These stories make for a great read right before bed or even in the morning to get your day started. Ian Cumpstey has done a wonderful job of translating these Scandinavian ballads into English. As soon as I started reading, I was immediately impressed with his work. I hope he translates more ballads so we can enjoy them! Notes: I was curious as to what inspired Ian to translate these ballads and this is what he wrote when asked: I suppose you could say it started when I was living in Sweden, and singing songs in Swedish — not necessarily ballads, but there’s quite a lot of singing of songs that goes on in Sweden. That’s when I started to think about the translation of songs. And then when I discovered the number of old Scandinavian ballads that had been written down I found that fascinating, given my interest in folk music. The choice of ballads to include in Warrior Lore was inspired by what survived of the old Norse stories into Swedish ballads in particular. Rating: 4 stars ( I keep waffling between 4 stars and 4.5 stars) disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  15. 4 out of 5

    N.M.

    'Warrior Lore' is a compilation of Scandinavian ballads translated by Ian Cumpstey. He has used various sources in order to render a modern and beautiful English translation of the ballads. This compilation has been created for the general public, and Cumpstey has certainly achieved his goal. In preparation for this review I researched other English translations of each ballad in order to determine its level of readability. After searching, I found there were not many English translations of thes 'Warrior Lore' is a compilation of Scandinavian ballads translated by Ian Cumpstey. He has used various sources in order to render a modern and beautiful English translation of the ballads. This compilation has been created for the general public, and Cumpstey has certainly achieved his goal. In preparation for this review I researched other English translations of each ballad in order to determine its level of readability. After searching, I found there were not many English translations of these ballads, at least not easily found. The only one which I was able to find in a public place was the ballad of Hilla-Lill, as the ballad inspired a famous watercolour. I found two translations, one by William Morris and the other by Whitley Stokes. Both have similar features to Cumpstey’s translation, but it is clear – and Mr. Cumpstey made mention of this in his notes – that there are different manuscripts used. This happens quite often with translations of all literature. Multiple manuscripts are used in order to produce a more fluid English translation. As it happens, sometimes using more manuscripts gives a more accurate translation, as well, and gives a bit more insight to the original intent of the ballad. I have seen this before with Chaucer’s “Truth” where only one known manuscript had an extra verse addressed to Vache and it has been argued that this has given us insight into Chaucer’s life and social circle. Overall, the ballads are extremely readable and quite enjoyable. It is quite clear these are ballads rather than epic poems. I can imagine these being sung quite easily. Each flows well with the others and it shows a distinct style of Scandinavian ballads that I had not known before. This is the most recent translation of any of these ballads and for anyone slightly interested in medieval ballads, or specifically Scandinavian ones, I would highly suggest Cumpstey’s translation and compilation in ‘Warrior Lore.’

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marian Thorpe

    'There shone out from the twelfth shield, A raven, all in brown. That carried Richard Ravengarth, For rhymes and runes he's known.' When Ian Cumpstey offered me his book Warrior Lore, translations of Scandinavian folk ballads, for review, I was both intrigued and excited. Intrigued, because I know very little about Scandinavian ballads, and excited, because these exact ballads are important to the book I'm currently writing. Warrior Lore is a fine introduction to these ballads and to some of the he 'There shone out from the twelfth shield, A raven, all in brown. That carried Richard Ravengarth, For rhymes and runes he's known.' When Ian Cumpstey offered me his book Warrior Lore, translations of Scandinavian folk ballads, for review, I was both intrigued and excited. Intrigued, because I know very little about Scandinavian ballads, and excited, because these exact ballads are important to the book I'm currently writing. Warrior Lore is a fine introduction to these ballads and to some of the heroic and historical figures of northern Europe. These are not dry academic translations, but rather lively, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, verses which the reader can easily imagine set to music, being sung loudly and lustily in hall full of warriors, flickering firelight, and wide-eyed children. (To increase your appreciation of the verses, read them out loud!) Cumpstey has organized the book well. Each ballad translation is preceded by a prose description and explanation of the history, characters and events of the verse. Having set the stage, the verse translation follows. While the rhymes sometimes seem imperfect, this is in keeping with the rhymes in the Swedish originals, and the rhyme schemes in the translations also mirror those of the originals. In the end-notes, the author explains that he has used multiple sources for most of his translations, as there are sometimes significant differences from one source to another. The end result is a lovely introduction to Scandinavian folk ballads. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the area, and to any writer (like myself) who needs source material that is accessible but academically sound. A solid 4 stars. The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Review by Goodreads Author Marian Thorpe Empire's Daughter

  17. 4 out of 5

    John

    Warrior Lore by Ian Cumpstey is a collection of translated Scandinavian folk songs first written in the sixteen hundreds. They detail several episodes of the more marital lore of Scandinavian folklore. I stayed up late one night and read all ten stories out loud, which I think is how everyone should experience them. The only improvement could be if I had been sitting in front or a fine on a winter night. The stories themselves are entertaining, and include everything from quests to prove one's f Warrior Lore by Ian Cumpstey is a collection of translated Scandinavian folk songs first written in the sixteen hundreds. They detail several episodes of the more marital lore of Scandinavian folklore. I stayed up late one night and read all ten stories out loud, which I think is how everyone should experience them. The only improvement could be if I had been sitting in front or a fine on a winter night. The stories themselves are entertaining, and include everything from quests to prove one's fighting ability to Thor cross dressing and getting married. Some are quite depressing and others, particularly the Thor story I mentioned earlier, are hilarious. I don't feel qualified to analyse the actual translations; I haven't studied the original Scandinavian or read any other translations of the original work. There were several places in the poems where the rhyming verse was broken, but I don't know if this was an issue with the source text or the translation. And I'm sure there are cases where it is impossible to create a translation that preserves the verse in it's entirety. Overall the poems flowed well and maintained a rhythm. As I said earlier I do not feel qualified to give a comprehensive review of Warrior Lore, but I really enjoyed reading it and have put Cumpstey other work on my reading list. I hope that he continues to work on bringing more of these delightful stories into English. Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eisah Eisah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (Spoilers within) This is a short book with translations of Scandinavian folk ballads and some explanations of what they're about and what is happening in them. On one hand, it's not the type of book for me because I've never been fond of things like poetry and such. On the other hand, it's probably the perfect type of book for me to review because I translate and I can appreciate how difficult it is to try and keep a rhythm and I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (Spoilers within) This is a short book with translations of Scandinavian folk ballads and some explanations of what they're about and what is happening in them. On one hand, it's not the type of book for me because I've never been fond of things like poetry and such. On the other hand, it's probably the perfect type of book for me to review because I translate and I can appreciate how difficult it is to try and keep a rhythm and rhyming scheme while keeping the same meaning. It's hard. I can imagine the amount of effort it took to try and put it together in English and I'd say it came together pretty well. Before each ballad, there are short explanations discussing what happens in the ballad, whether they're based off real historical figures and who they were, and what happened to them in reality or in other ballads. I would say this is akin to studying Shakespeare, because it's not necessarily obvious what's going on in the ballad's themselves without an explanation. I think the one that amused me the most was when Thor crossdressed as the troll's bride. I also liked that a guy ran home with an oak tree tied to his back. Old tales really didn't make a lot of logical sense. Others are pretty sad and telling of the times, like when a woman is kidnapped and forced into a brutal marriage and dies, only for one of he daughters to be kidnapped the same way later. Like I said, it's fairly short, and there's not too much of note to say. The sources that he translated from are documented. If you're interested in this subject it would be a good book to look into - I didn't really see any problems with it. It was neatly put together and had a clean Table of Contents and all. It did everything it set out to do.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bella

    (I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. On my blog, it received a 3.5.) I accepted this story for review because I liked the subject matter, at least in terms of geography, but after reading it, I’m not sure I feel like the most qualified person to review this type of thing. I don’t read many old folk tales and related translations, or much poetry of any sort. Further, I’m not reviewing the author’s work as much since the true focus is on things written long ago by many others (I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. On my blog, it received a 3.5.) I accepted this story for review because I liked the subject matter, at least in terms of geography, but after reading it, I’m not sure I feel like the most qualified person to review this type of thing. I don’t read many old folk tales and related translations, or much poetry of any sort. Further, I’m not reviewing the author’s work as much since the true focus is on things written long ago by many others. Still…the translations read well and clearly, and I appreciated how the author took from multiple sources to try to build the most coherent and complete image for each work. They read with rhythm and rhyme, which I imagine is difficult for translations. One thing, though, bugged me a little. It’s probably common in this type of academic endeavor, but reading it from a more “lay person” PoV, the introductions to each poem/ballad were repetitive. I read them for the pronunciation and historical notes mixed in, but when the entire story was explained before I read it, I felt like… What’s the point in reading it now? Maybe if it had come after, for those who needed clarification. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure this was just a me thing. Over all, though, it was an interesting short book to read, particularly if the poetic history of this region is of interest to you. So 3.5 Fireballs.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Aaron

    Scandinavian folklore and mythology is a guilty pleasure of mine. I tend to lean towards Norse mythology, so naturally when I saw the name “Thor” I was curious. Of course, the cross dressing part gave me pause. It wasn’t the taboo topic that it seems to be today, but it’s enough of a spin for the character that the ballad was written in the first place. My curiosity piqued, I dove into the book; which is essentially an essay of Scandinavian ballads translated with brief synopsis and author interp Scandinavian folklore and mythology is a guilty pleasure of mine. I tend to lean towards Norse mythology, so naturally when I saw the name “Thor” I was curious. Of course, the cross dressing part gave me pause. It wasn’t the taboo topic that it seems to be today, but it’s enough of a spin for the character that the ballad was written in the first place. My curiosity piqued, I dove into the book; which is essentially an essay of Scandinavian ballads translated with brief synopsis and author interpretation before each. The only issue I had with the book was its very short length. Some of the ballads are indeed longer, as are some of the preamble, however I found myself a little disappointed that only ten ballads were here. For the price, I would expect something closer to 200 pages, twice as many ballads or perhaps some historical perspective of the state of the world at the time of the writing to give some insight into the mindset of the author of the original ballad. I will say that for the ballads, they were translated well into English and while they may have lost some of their rhyming quality, they were no less intriguing. The preambles before each ballad was well thought out and explained, though I would have preferred some perspective into the state of the area in order to fully grasp the depth of the ballad. Overall for the laymen or Norse fan, the book is a lovely piece of history presented in a very well done way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Saradia Chatterjee

    Warrior Lore is an excellent collection of Scandinavian ballads. Brilliantly translated by Ian Cumpstey, the ballads primarily encompass the theme of warfare. There are 10 ballads. Some of them like “Widrick Waylandsson’s fight with Long-Ben Reyser “and “Heming and the Mountain troll” concern the hero’s battle with monstrous figures. Some ballads speak of young maidens and their trysts with Knights of their fathers’ courts while some others like “The cloister raid” document the exploitation of a Warrior Lore is an excellent collection of Scandinavian ballads. Brilliantly translated by Ian Cumpstey, the ballads primarily encompass the theme of warfare. There are 10 ballads. Some of them like “Widrick Waylandsson’s fight with Long-Ben Reyser “and “Heming and the Mountain troll” concern the hero’s battle with monstrous figures. Some ballads speak of young maidens and their trysts with Knights of their fathers’ courts while some others like “The cloister raid” document the exploitation of a maiden by a reputed warrior. The ballads sing praises for gallant and valorous battle heroes, beautiful maidens and scary monsters—the usual subjects of medieval literature. They also have religious undertones—Christian ideas of chivalry, bravery and justice. The translation is very lucid and lyrical. Explanations and background details assist the reader in comprehending the nature of the ballads. Ian Cumpstey explains the significance of every name in the ballads, how those names can be connected to other folklore and practically everything a reader needs to know. This book of ballads is a must-have for people who are interested in medieval literature and also anyone who likes reading heroic poetry. If you love reading stories of King Arthur and his Knights you are sure to enjoy this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reading Bifrost

    www.readingbifrost.com Review: *** The hardest thing to do when translating ballads into another language is trying to keep the rhyme and rhythm of the ballad without losing the original meanings during the translations. Ian Cumpstey’s little collective of Scandinavian ballads, Warrior Lore, mostly finds a comfortable medium between the two. Before each ballad, Cumpstey takes time to introduce the story and the characters involved; taking time to explain the different ways the names may be spelled o www.readingbifrost.com Review: *** The hardest thing to do when translating ballads into another language is trying to keep the rhyme and rhythm of the ballad without losing the original meanings during the translations. Ian Cumpstey’s little collective of Scandinavian ballads, Warrior Lore, mostly finds a comfortable medium between the two. Before each ballad, Cumpstey takes time to introduce the story and the characters involved; taking time to explain the different ways the names may be spelled or pronounced. This is very helpful for anyone who just wants a quick read and doesn’t want to think through the ballad on their own, or for beginners reading ballads (or for those brain dead moments where you just plain don’t get it. Admit it, we all have those). The ballads themselves are full of heroes, tragedy, kings, and romance (with an appearance by a cross dressing Thor). Sadly my namesake didn’t make the list, but there is a good grab bag of stories in this book to shovel through. Overall it’s a good read for a rainy day for those who read ballads, and a good starter book for those who haven’t yet discovered them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Foster

    These ballads are fun! Sure, they're written in a lyrical format, and sure, they require me to think a wee bit harder than an ebook normally requires, but these ballads are packed with action. I mean, Freya got so angry that blood shot out of her fingertips! Seriously. Exciting stuff! There were a couple of lines that didn't quite seem to work, but Cumpstey was sure to keep the poetic style flowing smoothly, to the point that I wished I could hear these ballads sung. I'm not normally one for ballad These ballads are fun! Sure, they're written in a lyrical format, and sure, they require me to think a wee bit harder than an ebook normally requires, but these ballads are packed with action. I mean, Freya got so angry that blood shot out of her fingertips! Seriously. Exciting stuff! There were a couple of lines that didn't quite seem to work, but Cumpstey was sure to keep the poetic style flowing smoothly, to the point that I wished I could hear these ballads sung. I'm not normally one for ballads, either, so that's high praise. I read this because he mentioned one of my favorite creatures - trolls. I have a huge collection of them staring down at me in my office. Their nasty hair and gigantic noses make me happy. As you can see, it doesn't take much to keep me happy... But even though I read it so that I could enjoy some real Scandinavian troll stories, I came to love it on its own merit. This is a spectacular work, and if you enjoy Scandinavian folklore, or even just tales about the Norse gods, it's worth reading. Cumpstey was diligent in his research, and he truly took the time to ensure the reader loves these Ballads as much as he obviously does.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid Hall

    This book only came in for review around 1 week ago, and I knew that I had to get to it A.S.A.P. My first novel, Granny Irene's Guide to the Afterlife was heavily rooted in Norse Mythology, and while the Scandinavian Folk Ballads do not have such an emphasis on the ancient mythology, it is nevertheless, an area that completely enthralls me. Anyone who has ever tried to trawl their way through a translation of The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda will know that it is at best hard-going and at times ina This book only came in for review around 1 week ago, and I knew that I had to get to it A.S.A.P. My first novel, Granny Irene's Guide to the Afterlife was heavily rooted in Norse Mythology, and while the Scandinavian Folk Ballads do not have such an emphasis on the ancient mythology, it is nevertheless, an area that completely enthralls me. Anyone who has ever tried to trawl their way through a translation of The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda will know that it is at best hard-going and at times inaccessible, meaning that this vast body of cultural work is largely unknown outside of Scandinavia. I was, therefore, seriously impressed by how user-friendly Cumptsey's translation of this particular set of ballads is. Warrior Lore, rather than focus on the supernatural creatures of Scandinavian folklore ( The elves and spirits) concentrates as the title suggests, on the fighters, the warriors. The ballads are at times brutal, and I think, offer incredible insight into life and morals in the Sixteenth Century and earlier. I will be taking a look at Ian Cumpstey's other work and will be dipping back in and out of Warrior Lore in future.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    *I received a copy from the author in exchange for a honest review** This book of ballads was interesting and entertaining. My favorites being Hilla-Lill and The Cloister Raid. I read this in one sitting and I did not put it down once. It was a really quick read for me as well. Although the format was weird since before you got to the ballads, Cumpstey gives a description of the story and how it results. That happened to be the one thing I was not a fan of. Since the description told a brief summ *I received a copy from the author in exchange for a honest review** This book of ballads was interesting and entertaining. My favorites being Hilla-Lill and The Cloister Raid. I read this in one sitting and I did not put it down once. It was a really quick read for me as well. Although the format was weird since before you got to the ballads, Cumpstey gives a description of the story and how it results. That happened to be the one thing I was not a fan of. Since the description told a brief summary of the story and in most cases it told the reader how the ballad would end, which kind of annoyed me. But even with the opening descriptions, I still enjoyed the ballads. I gave this a three out of five stars as it was good and I liked it, but it did not leave a lasting impression as some of the ballad story lines were later forgotten by me. But I would definitely go back and reread my favorites.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Bennett

    Warrior Lore is a short collection of ten Scandinavian folk ballads translated into English by Ian Cumpstey. Compstey interjects a bit of background before each translation, which helps folks like me who know almost nothing about Scandinavian mythology, although the poems themselves are so clear the notes almost aren't needed. The poems are simple to read and understand, and I enjoyed reading them. This is saying something because I am not a person who normally enjoys reading poetry. I always ski Warrior Lore is a short collection of ten Scandinavian folk ballads translated into English by Ian Cumpstey. Compstey interjects a bit of background before each translation, which helps folks like me who know almost nothing about Scandinavian mythology, although the poems themselves are so clear the notes almost aren't needed. The poems are simple to read and understand, and I enjoyed reading them. This is saying something because I am not a person who normally enjoys reading poetry. I always skipped all the poems in Lord of the Rings because I found them tedious, and I usually avoid poetry books like I avoid mushrooms, but this I did like. Obviously I'm not a poetry expert or an expert on Norse ballads, so I can't tell you if these ballads are translated correctly or if the poetry is top-notch. All I know in my simple little mind is I had fun reading these little stories, and think you will too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Warrior Lore is a set of translated Scandanavian folk tales. It is a short ebook, coming in at 41 pages on my ereader, but it is worth it. I will admit that I wouldn't normally accept translated folk tales for review purposes, but I was intrigued by the premise and dived into them at the first opportunity. Ian Cumpstey has taken a very academic approach to this work. Rather than just translate each story and shove them down on paper, he has taken the time and trouble to place an introductory segm Warrior Lore is a set of translated Scandanavian folk tales. It is a short ebook, coming in at 41 pages on my ereader, but it is worth it. I will admit that I wouldn't normally accept translated folk tales for review purposes, but I was intrigued by the premise and dived into them at the first opportunity. Ian Cumpstey has taken a very academic approach to this work. Rather than just translate each story and shove them down on paper, he has taken the time and trouble to place an introductory segment before each tale and to give a bibliography at the back. These have the flavour of 'every' folk tale I have ever read. They are tragic, depressing, romantic and heroic all at the same time. Ian manages to make the translation gripping at the same time as providing a fairly solid start into Scandanavian myth. I started reading these tonight and did not stop until I had finished.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mike Siedschlag

    Warrior Lore was provided to me by author Ian Cumpstey in exchange for an honest review. Lucky for him, it's the only kind I write! Warrior Lore is a collection of English translations of Scandinavian/Norse Mythology and epic poetry. Being of German descent, I was immediately interested in reading this work. The collection obviously represents a tremendous amount of work. Translating with an eye to maintaining the integrity of the original seems to me to be a true labor of love. Author Cumpstey is Warrior Lore was provided to me by author Ian Cumpstey in exchange for an honest review. Lucky for him, it's the only kind I write! Warrior Lore is a collection of English translations of Scandinavian/Norse Mythology and epic poetry. Being of German descent, I was immediately interested in reading this work. The collection obviously represents a tremendous amount of work. Translating with an eye to maintaining the integrity of the original seems to me to be a true labor of love. Author Cumpstey is not the "creator" of the tales told here, so I can't speak strictly to his writing as such. But, I can express my respect and admiration for his academic effort. The humor, heroics, pathos and grandeur of these stories speak for themselves. I greatly enjoyed Warrior Lore, and recommend it to anyone with an interest in mythology and stories of epic and heroic deeds. Enjoy! Mike

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lotty Ellis

    A collection of Scandinavian Folk Ballads translated into English by Ian Cumpstey. This would not usually be a book I would pick up to read however I was intrigued and decided to give it a try. This book did not disappoint, a nice easy read over two nights with a description of each ballad prior to the actual translation. Although I do not speak Scandinavian and therefore cannot comment on the translation, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, with the flow of the Ballads easy and entertaining. A collection of Scandinavian Folk Ballads translated into English by Ian Cumpstey. This would not usually be a book I would pick up to read however I was intrigued and decided to give it a try. This book did not disappoint, a nice easy read over two nights with a description of each ballad prior to the actual translation. Although I do not speak Scandinavian and therefore cannot comment on the translation, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, with the flow of the Ballads easy and entertaining. This book is full of exciting stories about warriors, love, and Thor cross dressing as a bride, (possibly my favourite ballad of the book). A book to read on cold nights by the fire, preferably out loud, in a dramatic voice. I look forward to more work from Ian Cumpstey.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Celia Kennedy

    As a college student I took a class in the evolution of language and it's linguistic origins. I found it thoroughly fascinating, because not only did we learn what words were absorbed into the melting pot of the English language, we also learned their place in the vernacular structure. Mr. Cumpstey has taken a collection of Scandinavian folk tales and ballads, and has translated them poetically. An explanation preceding each tale/ballad helps the reader understand the context of the story, which As a college student I took a class in the evolution of language and it's linguistic origins. I found it thoroughly fascinating, because not only did we learn what words were absorbed into the melting pot of the English language, we also learned their place in the vernacular structure. Mr. Cumpstey has taken a collection of Scandinavian folk tales and ballads, and has translated them poetically. An explanation preceding each tale/ballad helps the reader understand the context of the story, which I absolutely loved - reading these out of context would have lessened the voice of the original tellers and the recounting of history. I would highly recommend this to history buffs, poets, lovers of folk tales.

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