Date published: Mach 2013
Reviewed by Helen
Obtained via publisher
When Haakon’s son dies of illness, instead of in battle, he’s barred from Valhalla and Haakon forces the village witch to do something. The witch knows this isn’t a good idea, but is unable to disobey. Thorkell, the bard’s, life is also thrown into disarray.
Ninth century Ireland is a cold wild place. Haakon has only the one son, who dies of illness along with other people. Ivar’s death is a tragedy as he is their mightiest warrior. Thorkell the bard has always worshipped and idolized Ivar. Between the demands of Haakon, the witch and the gods, Thorkell is in a tricky position.
Mr. Lawton’s story is excellent in the way it so briefly yet clearly sketches in the mythology and beliefs of the time, along with the cultural traditions as the witch and the bard work out what has to be done. Each displays their character and their thoughts by their response to the problem. Haakon may only want what is best for his dead son, but in pursuing it so blindly and wholeheartedly he unleashes all sorts of consequences.
An interesting, yet different little story, which packs a lot into a short word count. Thorkell is not your average hero, but he’s a fascinating and engaging character. I’ll be looking for more books by Mr. Lawton.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.