Ragnvald, hero of The Half-Drowned King, returns home after his battles in King Harald’s name, only to find that a distant relative has moved into his house with a contingent of soldiers. Atli claims that Sogn belonged to his grandfather. Hilda tells her husband that Atli is a pretty nice guy, especially since he killed the soldier who assaulted her, and Ragnvald can see that Atli is winning the affections of his sons.
In the meantime, his sister, Svanhild, has married Ragnvald’s archenemy, Solvi Hunthiofsson, and is fighting for the life of their fragile son. She wants to claim a farm in Iceland, but Solvi’s home is a dragon ship on the sea. Svanhild was always tough, but living with Solvi has made her stronger than ever. She will need all of her resources and intelligence to handle the challenges that could change this farm girl into the Sea Queen.
Frozen landscapes, royal courts, and stormy seas are the changing backdrops in this action-packed sequel. Readers may think that this is a fantasy story, but it is solid historical fiction in pre-Christian Scandinavia. Hartsuyker returns to her fascinating cast of characters, weaving battle scenes into the ongoing drama of betrayals, love affairs, political schemes, births, deaths, joys and sorrows. Great storytelling for those of us who love the Norse.
Disclaimer: I read an advance reader copy of this title. Opinions expressed are solely my own and may not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.