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Havelok the Dane: A Legend of Old Grimsby and Lincoln

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By: (1856-1913)

Havelok the Dane is a captivating tale that weaves together elements of legend and history to create an engaging story of courage, loyalty, and love. The author, Charles Watts Whistler, skillfully brings to life the world of medieval England, painting a vivid picture of the rugged landscape and the characters who inhabit it.

The protagonist, Havelok, is a noble and heroic figure who faces numerous challenges and obstacles on his journey to reclaim his rightful place as king. Along the way, he is joined by a cast of compelling characters, each with their own motivations and desires.

What sets this book apart is its rich attention to detail and its exploration of themes such as betrayal, redemption, and the power of true love. Readers will find themselves drawn into the story, eagerly turning the pages to discover what fate has in store for Havelok and his companions.

Overall, Havelok the Dane is a timeless tale that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, medieval literature, and epic sagas. With its gripping narrative and colorful characters, this book is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who read it.

Book Description:

Troy, Athens, Rome... each has its founding legend. So too does the Lincolnshire town of Grimsby, once the largest fishing port in the world.

Havelok the Dane probably derives from a folk-tale, orally passed down before assuming written form - first in Anglo-Norman French, later in Middle English verse (c. 1280-1300). It tells of the rescue of the Danish prince from a wicked regent, who has tried to procure Havelok's murder. Grim the fisher, the appointed hit-man, thwarts the plan by spiriting the lad to England, where Grim settles with his family on the coast, adopting Havelok as his foster-son and naming the new community after himself.

C.W. Whistler's clever adaptation of the tale (published in 1899) draws on the various medieval sources. The English poem is particularly suited to 'novelisation'. It abounds in homely detail, and the hero's progress from half-dead waif to the triumphant fulfilment of his strength and kingly destiny makes a satisfying arc for the development of plot and character. At the same time, the legend's origins in oral performance are suggested through the choice of a first-person narrator, namely Grim's sober-sided son Radbard, whose plain-spoken account conveys something of the older saga tradition.

Our reader, the gifted Tony Foster, has worked and travelled in Scandinavia. His subtly-inflected narration brings a truly Nordic flavour to this re-creation of life in sixth-century Britain.

Since Charles Whistler published his novel, both Grimsby and its local heroes have been celebrated from time to time - by Elton John in his album Caribou (1974) and recently in a folk rock musical by local band Merlin's Keep (2014). (Introductory

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