He can deny it all he likes, but everyone knows Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson brought home a great chest of gold when he retired from the longboats and settled down with Hildigunnur in a remote valley. Now, in the summer of 970, adopted daughter Helga is awaiting the arrival of her unknown siblings: dark, dangerous Karl, lithe, clever Jorunn, gentle Aslak, henpecked by his shrewish wife, and the giant Bjorn, made bitter by Volund, his idiot son.
And they’re coming with darkness in their hearts.
The siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s treasure – until one morning Helga is awakened by screams. Blood has been shed: kin has been slain.
No one confesses, but all the clues point to one person – who cannot possibly be the murderer, at least in Helga’s eyes. But if she’s going to save the innocent from the axe and prevent more bloodshed, she’s got to solve the mystery – fast…
DNF @ page 116
I read this novel as my BookBum Club book for May! Check out this page to find out more about my very own Book Club!
Ugh, this book was a disaster for me! I was really hoping to love it as a moody Viking murder mystery sounded really unique. Unfortunately, there was just too much wrong with this book for me to continue with it. Let me explain why…
First thing I didn’t like about this novel was the historical accuracy or the lack thereof it, should I say. Considering this was about Vikings, meaning hundreds and hundreds of years in the past, they all spoke like modern day yobs. I can fully believe that Vikings were explicit motherf*ckers but various terms they used didn’t sit right with the time period. I can’t remember (and didn’t make a note of) any quotes specifically to back up this point but think “little shit” or something similar.
Quite early on it’s also quite obvious that this is going to be a very hectic novel. It felt like a lot of people were being introduced to us in a very small amount of time which meant none of them were particularly well developed. I have a good memory for names, but when there are lots of them on characters who are immediately not very memorable, it’s quite difficult to keep up. Luckily, there is a family tree at the beginning of the book which is helpful, but it would have been even more helpful to not have so many underdeveloped characters!
Another hectic part of this novel was the plot. On one hand it felt like it was moving a mile a minute, where lots of things were happening without any explanation of time moving so it was jumping from one thing to the next, to the next. Then on the other hand, in the 116 pages I read, it really didn’t feel like the plot went anywhere... How is that possible when so much was going on?
The last thing to mention is that I didn’t find this book was particularly well written, the characters and settings weren’t described amazingly and I felt no connection to anything that was happening. Not to mention the first 30% of this book is all “grr, look how macho I am in comparison to you” and I got sick of its masculinity. I know Vikings were probably very much like that, but I feel it could have been done in a subtler way.
Overall, this was a big no for me. I’m sure it can work for other readers but I wouldn’t personally recommend this to anyone, including thriller and historical fiction lovers. There’s better fiction out there.
*Buy it here: Amazon UK
Thanks to BookBridgr for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. Sorry I didn’t like it!