Beyond Beowulf

Beowulf ends with Beowulf’s death and premonitions of disaster. For
over a thousand years the world has waited to learn what happened
next. Beyond Beowulf provides the answer. Beowulf’s people embark on a sea voyage that leads to encounters with trolls and hostile tribes, peaceful encounters with monastic communities on the English coast, and a final battle.

Christopher Webber’s Beyond Beowulf will cast a spell over readers of
all ages. With poetry both elegant and vigorous, Webber leads us on a
breathtaking adventure through a somber and magical land. By the end
of the journey, we are indeed convinced we have unearthed a lost
sequel to the epic Beowulf, a sequel that rises to the greatness of
its predecessor.

— Mary Pope Osborne, author of Favorite Medieval
Tales and many other children’s books.

Chris Webber regularly finds riches looking at old things in new ways. Here, he’s looked at a very old thing, Beowulf, and found an entirely new thing: a new poem that describes, among other things, a first encounter between Scandinavians in ships, raiding the coast and looking for a home, and Christians, on the sacred island of Lindesfarne, off the East Coast of Scotland, a first conversation about a different answer than the sword only, to a world full of evils and dangers, trolls and monsters, and human enemies, within us and without. Choosing this subject was a marvelous idea, and, may I say, truly eccentric, a very good antidote to a paint-by-the-numbers world. It’s also delightful reading, and civilized, and wise.

— Sam Waterston, star of Law and Order

An ambitious sequel to one of the canon’s greatest epics. Provocative and entertaining: a thoughtful addition to this timeless tale.

— Kirkus Discoveries

On the theory that Modern English is too different a language to fit easily into the Old English pattern, I have invented my own adaptation of the Old English alliterated line. I have used that basic English line, the iambic pentameter, but have set a standard of three alliterated stressed syllables per line. Thus the sound of the older line is saved within a line that is more congenial to the shorter words of the modern language. The Introduction goes into more detail about the poetic structure. Here’s an excerpt.

Then Wiglaf, son of Weohstan, chose words
And spoke with calm and quiet confidence;
Avoiding conflict, he unveiled his vision,
The hope he held to of a peaceful haven:
The search that we are on is still the same:
Behind or yet ahead, we seek a home,
But words are weak; no one of us can say
In measured words what means the most to us
Or paint the picture prized within our hearts.
It is what some have seen in battle-strife:
The courage then required amid the killing.
It is what some see staying safe inside:
The babies bawling while the kettle boils.
It is what some will see in country scenes:
The trees they treasure and the tors they know.
And some have seen it in the search itself,
Who hang their hopes upon a distant hill
Yet relish more the route than the arrival.
But let us go together toward our goal
And step by step see what its shape may be.
Our children have their choice of challenges
But we must find our way and go as one
To find the future of the Geats as friends.
— From Beyond Beowulf