Top positive review
Can a Pictish Woman and Viking Warrior Find Love?
Reviewed in the United States on October 21, 2017
If Emma Prince would stop writing these fascinating books I could actually get some work done! Just kidding... I thoroughly enjoy her historic romances. Eirik Hamersson, the Jarl, has entrusted one of his most trusted and respected warriors with the task of returning to the west to find a suitable settlement for members of the village of Dalgaard. Multiple winters have been extremely harsh on his people especially as relates to have sufficient food for the villagers. Eirik and Alaric had both been to Pictland previously where they went to Whitby's Abbey in Northumbria, bringing home, gold, silver, other riches and the woman slave, Laurel who becomes Eirik's wife. Now Alaric is heading a two-ship expedition. He captains one ship and his sister, Madrena, shieldmaden, is captain of the second ship. The voyage itself is uneventful. Alaric finds a place that appears to be ideal. After landing, the Vikings learn that there is a town nearby, a town with the negative experience of a raiding Viking party that killed all the villagers and burned their homes. Only those within the walls of the fortress were spared the first time but at least one person, Drostan, captain of the guard, bitterly remembers the family he lost in the first Viking encounter. He argues for a preemptive strike -- kill these new group of invading Vikings now! Fortunately, Maelcon, the chieftain, does not agree.
When landing the ships, Alaric saw movement along the tree line. Not knowing for sure, who or what he has seen, he and a group of warriors set out to determine what or who he saw. This becomes his first encounter with the diminutive, beautiful Elisead, daughter of Chieftain Maelcon. Alaric is stunned to find this "forest spirit" out in the woods and he is struck by her beauty. As other crew members approach, he allows her to run away. Alaric, Runin, and Madrena.meet with the village chieftain and explain the mission Eirik has assigned but the chieftain is not convinced given the brutal actions of the first group of Vikings. The result: A hostage exchange -- Madrena is left behind with the chieftain in the fortress as a hostage and Elisead becomes a hostage in the Vikings' temporary settlement.
This is a touching love story with Elisead and Alaric resisting mightily their mutual attraction. Will they succumb? Runin, husband of Madrena, Madrena in her leadership role, Olaf, a huge and mighty Viking warrior, Eyva a shieldmaden trainee under Madrena,and Drostan, all make important contributions to the telling of this wonderful story. For example, Elisead who is an artist that works with stone, has seen firsthand that her people have a narrow definition of women's role yet she realizes these Vikings are more openminded. Madrena is an equal as a warrior. She is training another to become a warrior. Elisead's artistic talents are seen asa gift from the gods. Madre!na is second in command of the expedition, highly regarded and respected.Elisead learns of and later meets Laurel, who was enthralled by Grimar in an earlier Prince book but becomes Eirik's wife who had been treated as a slave by her people at the Whitby's Abbey. Along the way though someone is sabotaging Eirik's mission. Is it feitr, a Norman slave from the first Viking raid? You will enjoy this book with its twists and turns -- the anger of Drostan, the unclear motives of Feitr, the distrust of Maelcon... .