The story of the Vikings is one of the most dramatic in European history. From their base in Scandinavia, Viking warriors and settlers spread across northern Europe, into Russia and across the Atlantic. After their first impact as fearsome raiders, destroying monasteries and plundering coastal settlements, the Vikings turned to conquest in England, Ireland and Normandy. In their longships, they also penetrated into the Mediterranean and as far as Byzantium, as well as establishing settlements in Iceland and Greenland and discovering Vinland, or America. This book is a concise and clear survey of who the Vikings were, what they did, why they did it and how we know about them. It includes an account of their remarkable saga literature and is likely to become a standard work on the subject.