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Were the Vikings, as contemporary description had it, a 'valiant, wrathful, foreign, purely pagan people' who swept in from the sea to plunder and slaughter? Or in the words of a Manx folksong 'ware-wolves keen in hungry quest', who lived and died by the sea and the sword. Or were they unusually successful merchants, extortionists, and pioneer explorers? This book, by leading international scholars, considers the latest research and presents a compelling picture of the Vikings and their age. Excavations as far apart as Dublin and Newfoundland, York and Kiev, provide fascinating archaeological evidence, expertly interpreted in this extensively illustrated book.