Why are Vikings romantic?
When Vikings were raiding Celtic monasteries they were not romantic. When Vikings - unkempt, insanitary, prone to arthritis after years on the sea - ravaged coastal settlements and came upriver to pillage and steal, they were not romantic. When they desecrated Christian sites, they were not romantic.
When an Anglo-Saxon village caught a Viking raider they pinned his skin to the church-door, which took the romance right out of it.
Do real Viking nicknames like 'Geirmund the Shifty', 'Ragnar Hairy-Breeches' or 'Eysteinn the Fart' induce swooning?
So why are we drawn to them?
Perhaps because they were pirates, the free-wheeling buccaneers of their age, who refused to be overwhelmed by anything, including the glories of Byzantine Constantinople - their runes and messages have been found carved into the church of Haghia Sophia in Istanbul.
Perhaps because through their sagas and art they reveal a fierce spirit of independence, a laconic, 'give-it-your best-shot ' attitude that is appealing.
Perhaps because women in Scandinavian society had many freedoms and rights, and at home Viking men were hard-working and respectful to their wives and mothers.
Perhaps because the image of the tall, blond, blue-eyed hulking warrior is a delicious fantasy that - with the benefit of historical hindsight - we can indulge in.
Here, as a partial homage to the romance of Vikings, is my short story, Seal of Odin. This is a different version from my more paranormal story, The Beach and is the earlier of the two:
Seal of Odin (PDF)
Vikings also appear, in passing, in my A Knight's Captive, which takes place in 1066 and features the battle of Stamford Bridge where the Viking king Harold Hardrada was killed.
Best wishes, Lindsay