Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kings of the North-Cecelia Holland

Kings of the North
Cecelia Holland
Forge, Jul 2010, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765321923

After being away for several years, Raef Corbanson, accompanied by his traveling friends Leif the Icelander and Liassa, returns to England at a time when strife threatens the country. Whereas Raef just wants to go home to Jorvik, several men strive for the throne ever since Ethelred the Unready became the ruler.

Raef’s former shipmate Denmark King Sweyn Forkbeard wants the crown now precariously worn by Ethelred. The monarchs’ respective sons Edmund and Knut also covet the throne. Raef tries his best to be a decent foster father to Knut and reconcile with his daughter, Gemma. However he hesitates to confront Lady Hedeby while also hoping to stay out of the monarchy free for all.

The final tale of the Loosestrife dark ages thriller (see The High City) is a terrific Viking era historical. Partially because he can see the future that he believes cannot be changed, Raef remains submissively acceptant of his and others’ fate. His realistic reaction to his paranormal skill leaves him relatively inert as the center of the story line reacting to those hyperactive rivals seeking the crown. Still fans of the Loosestrife epic will relish the fight for the throne in the early decades of the eleventh century.

Harriet Klausner

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