A solid strait romance.
The book flowed nicely and the tone of voice was precisely what I expected. I had the feeling of being there: on the ship, in front of the longhouse, at the Glima… It was really well described.
At the beginning of the book we are led to think Hakan a bloodthirsty Viking. He’s imposing, authoritative, tall, blond with icy blue eyes, but he’s also very, very attractive.
Helena is a Frank woman stolen during a Dane’s raid and waiting to be sold. She’s scarred: her cheek has been sliced by a Dane warrior when she refused to give him her only remaining treasure – a link chain that was supposed to be her dowry.
The story from there is, as I said, strait romance with greed, treachery, love…
I liked Hakan. He was very mellow for a Viking. That he was sexy as sin is just an added bonus! He treated all under him justly, which made him a little unbelievable, but still he was a great hero!
I liked less Helena. She seemed to me very spoilt, even if she’s not from a noble house, but a working girl. I couldn’t understand some of the things she did – it just didn’t reflect how a slave would be acting.
“We’re no better than sheep and goats.” She glared at the small cluster of animals in the center of the ship. “I cannot believe this…this horrible treatment.”
I mean, really? What did she expect the treatment of slaves to be?
During the first half of the book he treats her with care and respect, as he often says I treat you better than many Norsemen treat their wives. It’s understandable that a slave wants to be free, but she resented him without understanding his treatment was an exception not the rule.
Afterward, she slowly accepts that there’s “something” between them, but he still, almost to the very end, doesn’t want commitment with another woman. And it’s understandable after his ex-wife treatment. But, when confronted with the very real threat of loosing her, he relents and confess his love.
Also the secondary characters were good. I particularly liked Sven. He was, in my opinion, what a real Viking warrior would be! Also Sestra was great!
Good, solid romance, but I suppose I can describe it as a giant prologue to a series. All the clues have been set, all the questions have been asked and nothing, besides the relationship between Hakan and Helena, has been solved.
I would have preferred a little more of “something” to make it great. All the premises were there, but some more spice, some more acceptance from her side, some less resentment and less ingenuity would have been better.