I am reading "Birkebeinerens sønn" by Ola Onsrud
It is set in the civil war era of Norwegian history, which lasted from 1130 to 1217. During this period there were several interlocked conflicts of varying scale and intensity.
The background for these conflicts were the unclear Norwegian succession laws, social conditions and the struggle between Church and King. There were then two main parties, firstly known by varying names or no names at all, but finally condensed into parties of Bagler and Birkebeins.
Birkebeinerene, or the "Birkebeins was the rebels, lead by Øystein Møyla. They were mostly criminals and border men" The name has its origins in propaganda from the opposing party that the rebels were so poor that they made their shoes of birch bark
Øystein is killed, and the Birkebeiner party gets a new leader in 1177: Sverre Siggurdson. Under Sverre's leadership, the Birkebeiner movement was re-organized and pruned and the most criminal elements were brutally purged from the party.
In the book we follow Arne, his father Magnus and their men (and women) as they fight, intrigue and try to live in this turbulent time. As supporters of the Birkebeiner movement.
Sadly the book is not translated to english. Or published yet... I have been lucky, and has been asked to read it and comment on "my field of expertise
Ola is an historian, specializing in this period. He is also a western martial artist and a reenactor. I have jousted against him on one occasion. Though he is not a regular jouster.
The book suffers a bit because of Ola's extensive knowledge of the period, sword fighting , dress, armor and medieval life in general. He gets a bit to much into details, and seems to forget the plot.
Well not really a plot:
The book reads a bit like a Saga. And there is not one big plot line or mystery that needs to be solved. But a series of obstacles for the main characters. And their allies
I like the book so far, and look forward to the (unavoidable) heavy edited published book in the future. I think a lot of people on this forum would love the detail and information.
I find this post-viking period in Norway to be very Hârnic.
(Sorry for posting about a unavailable book - so far...)
"Ofnær nefi" kvað karl, var skotinn í auga."
(To close to the nose, he said, when he was shot in the eye) www.stridshest.no