Monday, January 20, 2014

New Review: Julia Knight’s THE VIKING’S SACRIFICE – An Unusual Love Story of a Viking and a Saxon

Set in Northeast England in 836 (the beginning) and Norway in 844, this is the story of Einar, who as a young man goes raiding with his brothers and sets upon a village in which Wilda, then 11, lives. Her mother is slain before her eyes by one of Einar’s brothers, Bausi, who then kills Einar’s older brother and tries to kill Einar. But Wilda saves him and then he saves her, telling her to “renn, renn” (run, run). Years later, they meet again when Wilda is captured in another raid and brought back to Norway.

Bausi, having been thwarted in his plans to kill both of his brothers, threatened Einar with a curse: he will kill their younger siblings if Einar speaks of what happened. To make matters worse, Bausi spreads a lie of Einar’s cowardice, which the whole village believes.

I thought the author’s research was well reflected and the story had an authentic feel. Her writing is excellent and she made good use of the language differences in giving us a picture of what life might be like for the thralls taken captive by the Vikings. And Einar’s feelings for Wilda were sweet and tender.

A few things kept me from giving the author full marks: There’s a fair bit of introspection, which at times slowed an otherwise absorbing story. The story was a bit depressing with Einar continuously the recipient of his people’s scorn and living on the edge of their society. (He was a whipping boy for most of the book.) Finally, he stood up and fought but it came very late. And, lastly, I had trouble visualizing what people and places looked like, including the hero and heroine, but then I’m very visual and like vivid descriptions.

Still, it was a well-told Viking tale of two young people who eventually cross their cultures to find love together. And it has a great cover!

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