Vikings with a dollop of fantasy, what more could we ask for 🙂 yes I said fantasy, we have some magic not the over the top style that many fantasy books use.
At first I found it a little hard to get into, slow at the start, the time hop backwards and forwards not helping, but once you get a grasp of who is who and the speed increases it's well worth it. Thankfully the author doesn't get bogged down on minor details, something I personally can't stand, and I confess one of the reasons why I've stopped reading Stephen King books, even although I know the man is brilliant.
I found myself most attached to Niclaus and Vidar, Niclaus for the majority of the story is totally unaware of his origins and also what huge changes the future will bring for him. Niclaus is from a small village and lives with his brother, Orrin. Both brothers along with most other similar aged boys/young men dream of winning the right to lead in the associated trials of endurance, a rite of passage only one can win and stand next in line to be leader of the village. Vidar has been tasked with a very special quest which sadly I can say very little about as it would be a huge spoiler, things become apparent as the story unfolds, connections between the past and present time start to slot together, first appearances may suggest he is a loner but that is not the case at all, every summer he travels to a brutal frozen island in the far north. In a constant search for something, a mission given to him by Cado the dwarven leader of Newgrange. Please don't think the dwarfs of classic fantasy!
The world is fantastic, Kenneth mixes real history and locations with fantasy that keeps you turning page after page, there was a couple of evenings that became 2am when I picked this book up to read it, that delightful "just one more chapter" that a good book gives you. The constant conflict between the christian 'white crosses' and pagan vikings follows throughout the story.
There I'm sure is going to be a sequel and I for one can't wait to read it! the week it is released will be the the week I read it!
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