H. Rider Haggard
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An important innovator in the action-adventure genre, H. Rider Haggard didn't rest on his laurels after creating an immensely popular series based around gentleman explorer Allan Quatermain. Instead, Haggard continued to push the genre forward—sometimes by harking to the ancient past. In the novel Eric Brighteyes, Haggard borrows heavily from Norse mythology, setting a classic action-adventure tale in the land now known as Iceland.
"That was well done, Brighteyes," she said. "The game is still to play, sweet," he gasped, "and Ospakar is a mighty man. I threw him by skill, not by strength. Next time it must be by strength or not at all." Now breathing-time was done, and once more the two were face to face. Thrice Ospakar rushed, and thrice did Eric slip away, for he would waste Blacktooth's strength. Again Ospakar rushed, roaring like a bear, and fire seemed to come from his eyes, and the steam went up from him and hung
of thy great might, for there is a stronger than the strongest. Spare a fallen foe, and take not a poor man's goods or a brave man's sword; but, when thou smitest, smite home. So shalt thou win honour, and, at the last, peace, that is more than honour." Eric thanked her for her counsel, and kissed her, then turned to Gudruda, who stood, white and still, plucking at her golden girdle. "What can I say to thee?" he asked. "Say nothing, but go," she answered: "go before I weep." "Weep not,
out their might, and lo! though the rope did not break, the iron ring burst asunder and they rolled upon the deck. "Well pulled, truly," said Skallagrim as he struggled to his haunches: "I am marked about the middle with rope-twists for many a day to come, that I will swear. What next, lord?" "Whitefire," answered Eric. Now, their arms were piled a fathom or more from where they sat, and right in the prow of the ship. Hither, then, they must crawl upon their knees, and this was weary work, for
broken. Then too, when I would have left her, she drugged me with a witch-draught—ay, she drugged me, and I woke to find myself false to my oath, false to Atli, and false to thee, Gudruda. I cursed her and I left her, waiting for the Earl, to tell him all. But Swanhild outwitted me. She told him that other tale of shame that ye have heard, and brought Koll to him as witness of the tale. Atli was deceived by her, and not until I had cut him down in anger at the bitter words he spoke, calling me
taken from thee, swear this to me: that thou wilt slay no more, save for thy life's sake only." "I swear that, sweet," he made answer. "For I too am weary of death and blood, and desire peace most of all things. The world is sad, and sad have been our days. Yet it is well to have lived, for through many heavy days we have wandered to this happy night." "Yea, Eric, it is well to have lived; though I think that death draws on. Now this is my counsel: that we rise, and that thou dost put on thy