It is the year 1000 and Red Orm, a native of Scania, goes a-viking. This book of historical fiction follows Orm's adventures through the life of Europe in the later Viking Age, from Andalusia to Denmark to Ireland to England, all against the backdrop of pragmatic Norse paganism's encounters with Islam and creeping Christianisation.
In my career as a reader I have encountered only three people who knew The Long Ships, and all of them, like me, loved it immediately. Four for four: from this tiny but irrefutable sample I dare to extrapolate that this novel, first published in Sweden during the Second World War, stands ready, given the chance, to bring lasting pleasure to every single human being on the face of the earth. -- from the Introduction by Michael Chabon