Sunday, July 30, 2006

Book Review: Viking Warrior

OK, I get it: a Viking's life was violent. But was it really necessary to show quite so much hacking of limbs and cleaving of skulls? Still, surprisingly, I enjoyed Viking Warrior in spite of the excessive violence and high body count. The narrator was likeable and I found myself drawn into his world and his story.

Halfdan is a slave who belongs to the Viking chieftain Hrorik, who is also his father. Halfdan's mother is a slave who was captured in a raid in Ireland, and who caught Hrorik's fancy. Hrorik may be Halfdan's biological father, but to Halfdan he is just a master, and Halfdan has nothing to look forward to but a life of hardship and drudgery as a slave. But when Hrorik is mortally injured in a raid, Halfdan's fate is changed and in one night he is transformed from slave to lord. He loses the person he loves most in the world, but gains a new family who welcome him with loving arms.

Halfdan must learn to come to terms with his new life, as he begins learning the skills necessary to be a Viking warrior under the tutelage of his new brother. But just when he begins to embrace his new life, he comes face to face with an evil that threatens to take it all away.

Viking Warrior is historical fiction filled with interesting details about Viking life in the ninth century. The story is quite exciting, and the characters well drawn. Author Judson Roberts paints a rich and fascinating portrait of Viking society. A historical note at the end of the book gives some of the historical background, and there is much more information at the Strongbow Saga Website.

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