Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla
by Lars Henrik Olsen
Translated by Paul Russell Garrett
- A beloved series of Danish mythical adventures for 12+ years, available for the first time in English translation. The first book in the series, Erik and the Gods (Erik Menneskesøn), is an epic tale set in Norse mythology. It follows the exploits of 13-year-old Erik as he journeys to Valhalla – the Land of the Gods…
- To mark the 30th anniversary of its original publication, Aurora Metro Books has commissioned the first English translation of Lars-Henrik Olsen’s much-loved Danish novel, Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla, with new illustrations by Kokhi Holman. The translation from the Danish by Paul Russell Garrett was awarded a 2015 PEN Translates Award, and is supported by a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation.
- Denmark’s Lord of the Rings, Erik was awarded The Danish Bookstores Auxiliary Society of Children’s Book Prize (1986). Olsen’s series has gained cult status over the past thirty years, and is currently being made into a film in Denmark.
- Publication coincides with ‘Nordic Matters’ – a year-long exploration of Nordic arts and culture taking place at London’s Southbank Centre throughout 2017. A special focus on play, curiosity and creativity, for people of all ages but particularly children and young people means Erik and the Gods, a classic of Danish YA Fiction will be in good company alongside the first major UK exhibition devoted to The Moomins.
The Gods have been fighting an endless war with the Giants and they’re slowly losing their powers.
During a terrible storm, Thor appears to Erik, an ordinary 13-year-old boy.
He sends Erik and his daughter on a mission to the Land of the Giants where they must find a Goddess with magic apples.
BUT TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
Can Erik rescue the Goddess from the Giants and prevent the End of the World?
“Famous myths and legends burst into life again when 13-year-old Erik is enlisted to help out the Norse gods, now fallen on hard times. His adventures that follow are in the same epic league as Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but delivered with a lighter touch as Erik brings in his own modern perspective to all he sees and hears now going on around him. Packing each chapter with incident and extraordinary detail concerning everyday life in Valhalla, the ancient home of the gods, Lars-Henrik Olsen provides readers of all ages with an unfailingly good-humoured feast for the imagination. Published thirty years ago in Danish, this wonderfully entertaining story, the first of four involving Erik, richly deserves a wider audience today.”
Nicholas Tucker, Rough Guide to Children’s Books
“Lars-Henrik Olsen’s epic novel of Erik’s adventures with the Viking gods is a main reason why the powerful tales of Norse mythology continue to be shared by generations of Danes. When, as a young teenager, I first encountered Erik and the Gods, I discovered what would become a life-long passion for fantasy and, not least, reading.”
Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, UCL Scandinavian Studies
“When the great hammer-wielding Thor whisks Erik off to Asgard, the boy finds himself in a new (and very ancient) world preparing to embark on a perilous quest. It will be an action-packed journey on a mythological scale, with Gods and giants, with monsters and magical knives, with dragons and wolves and serpents, with treachery and heroism. Olsen’s breathless new adventure is filled with the old stories, which it conjures back into life – an exciting and original introduction to one of the greatest of all mythological universes.”
Daniel Hahn, Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature
“The vivid imagination present in Lars-Henrik Olsen’s retelling [of the Nordic myths] makes it an obvious choice for bedtime reading. Odin’s loneliness, the death of Balder and the warnings about Ragnarok are world-class literature.”
“The first part of the novel is an incredibly lively and exciting introduction to the wealth of the Nordic myths. The second part leads the main characters on a journey to Hel, the Kindgom of the Dead, to Jotunheim, the land of the giants and on to the castle of Utgard-Loki. The story will make you shudder and shiver like in the most hard-boiled crime novels while demonstrating the strengths and qualities of the two main characters as in the classic coming-of-age novel. For children of the current generation, [it’s] the perfect induction to the Nordic myths and legends.”
Niels Mors, Information
About the author
Lars-Henrik Olsen is a Danish author. His oeuvre spans both children’s and youth and adult books. He has written books about animals and nature, Nordic mythology and several historical novels. Among his more notable books are the Erik series. His books have been translated into a total of 13 different languages. In 1976 he published several nature books including Life in the sea: a food chain and Life in the forest: a circuit. His debut fiction novel was Wolves and then followed a series of books with animals and nature as a theme. In 1986 he was awarded The Danish Bookstores Auxiliary Society of Children’s Book Prize for Erik Menneskeson. In 1988 this was followed by The dwarf from Normandy which won Denmark’s school librarian Society of Children’s Book Prize. Since then he has written a wealth of children’s and youth books, many of which are inspired by the Vikings, Norse mythology and medieval times.
A film is now being made of the Erik and the Gods in Denmark.