Archaeologist Neil Oliver ventures beyond the myths about seafaring Norsemen to reveal the true lives of their chieftains, warlords, and explorers. The Vikings are infamous for taking no prisoners, relishing cruel retribution, and priding themselves on their bloodthirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the West and as far as Baghdad in the East. As the Vikings did not record their own history, we have to discover it for ourselves, and their tale, as Neil Oliver reveals, is an extraordinary story of a stalwart people who came from the brink of destruction to develop awesome seafaring power that reached a quarter of the way around the globe, building an empire that lasted nearly two hundred years. Drawing on discoveries that have only recently come to light, Oliver follows the Vikings’ trail to uncover what drove them to embark on such extraordinary voyages more than 1,000 years ago. An epic tale of one of the world’s great empires, The Vikings will fascinate all history buffs interested in finding out more about these real-life adventurers.