Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Gisli Sursson’s Saga

Ice; Gisli Surrson; PCSaga of Icelanders

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day.


Gisli Sursson’s Saga tells the story of Gisli, a tragic hero who must kill one of his brothers-in-law to avenge another brother-in-law. Gisli is outlawed and forced to stay on the run for thirteen years before he is finally hunted down and killed, a traumatic death when it comes.

The events depicted in the saga take place between 860 and 980 AD. The saga existed in oral tradition until it was recorded, most likely in the thirteenth century .

This edition includes a translation of The Saga of the People of Eyri, where Gisli’s nephew, Snorri Thorgrímsson, represents a new generation when he acts to strengthen the evolving social order.

Taken together these sagas reveal the richness and variety of medieval Icelandic literature.

In 1981 Gisli Sursson’s Saga was made into an Icelandic film titled Útlaginn (The Outlaw), written and directed by Ágúst Guðmundsson and considered to be a culturally accurate representation of the time period.