The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker is the first book in a trilogy about Norway’s unification. A promising beginning to an interesting story.

The book starts with a twist that is very surprising. Hartsuyker keeps you reeling from that point on with many other plot twists.

The character development is great. You come to respect both of the main heroines – Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild. Both have a streak of stubbornness in them, but they also have a fairly strong moral compass that keeps them grounded. Although their initial goals line up with each other, they quickly go in diverging paths. Despite these different paths, you have a sense that they will both end up determining the fate of a united Norway.

The action is raw – describing the cutting off of heads and the cutting into of flesh. Although it is raw, it is not overdone – meaning Hartsuyker does not get into the too gory details. She realistically describes Norwegian warfare or all European warfare during that time period.

Although there is a little mysticism at times, it does not seem out-of-place. In particular, there is a scene on an “undead” person who turns out to be still alive, but near death.

I look forward to the next installment in the trilogy.

 

The Half-Drowned King Book Cover The Half-Drowned King
Linnea Hartsuyker
Fiction
Harper
August 1, 2017
448

Centuries ago, in a blood-soaked land ruled by legendary gods and warring men, a prophecy foretold of a high king who would come to reign over all of the north. . . .

Ragnvald Eysteinsson, the son and grandson of kings, grew up believing that he would one day take his dead father’s place as chief of his family’s lands. But, sailing home from a raiding trip to Ireland, the young warrior is betrayed and left for dead by men in the pay of his greedy stepfather, Olaf. Rescued by a fisherman, Ragnvald is determined to have revenge for his stepfather’s betrayal, claim his birthright and the woman he loves, and rescue his beloved sister Svanhild. Opportunity may lie with Harald of Vestfold, the strong young Norse warrior rumored to be the prophesied king. Ragnvald pledges his sword to King Harald, a choice that will hold enormous consequence in the years to come.

While Ragnvald’s duty is to fight—and even die—for his honor, Svanhild must make an advantageous marriage, though her adventurous spirit yearns to see the world. Her stepfather, Olaf, has arranged a husband for her—a hard old man she neither loves nor desires. When the chance to escape Olaf’s cruelty comes at the hands of her brother’s arch rival, the shrewd young woman is forced to make a heartbreaking choice: family or freedom.

About the author

Jeff Grim

Jeff Grim has been a reader all of his life. He has had a particular interest in military history, any war at any time. His fascination with military history has brought him to an interest in historical fiction where the history comes alive with fictitious heroes and villains. Recently, Jeff has become interested in historical mysteries set in various time periods.

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