I read The Long Ships right after the movie came out, sometime in 1965. I loved it and have remembered especially the last paragraph for all that time. So I decided to read it again. I couldn't locate my original copy, but there were plenty of others for sale on the 'net, and I ordered one.
The book was as good as I remembered it, if not better. It's set in the late 10th and early 11th centuries, and it's the story of Red Orm and his adventures in that world, from youth to age. He has a great many adventures, so there's plenty of action, but there's also a lot of humor and good old-fashioned storytelling. The writing style might be a problem for some people, as there are paragraphs that are longer than entire chapters in a James Patterson book. Also, the paperback edition pictured on the left if 475 pages of minute print, and that could be a problem for readers who need bigger print. It's worth the trouble, though.
Red Orm and his friend Toke's adventures take them all over the world of that time, from England to Spain to Russia, sometimes in search of booty or treasure, sometimes as slaves in the bodyguard of lord Almansur. Even when they settle down, Orm and Toke are often called to take near-heroic action when circumstances demand it.
The Long Ships is truly the Good Old Stuff, and I give it my highest recommendation. Don't read that last paragraph first. It's effective only after you read the other 475 pages.
The movie, by the way, while wonderful in its own way, is nothing at all like the novel, aside from the title and the character names. Here's a link to my review.