Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: The Half-Drowned King,' An Epic Novel by Linnea Hartsuyker.
We are taken on an epic tale of danger, growth, romance and tragedy as we travel into a past full of Vikings and warriors, as they determine who will oversee the land and how it will affect them all. We follow Ragnvald, the son of a murdered king, and his sister Svanhild as they strike out each on their own to find their way, with each wanting nothing more than their birthright. While Ragnvald seeks fame and glory as well as revenge, Svanhild would like nothing more than to be loved.
Ragnvald has seen a vision of a Golden Wolf, and is determined to make that vison come to pass. He is still both hurt and angered by an incident where his own murder was sought by his stepfather as well as that of a neighboring King. That King’s son, Solvi, was tasked with the murder, and while he tried, he failed. Ragnvald cannot forget. Unbeknownst initially of this betrayal, his sister Svanhild meets and falls in love with Solvi.
When Ragnvald is away, preparing an army for war, Svanhild is taken and wed to Solvi. This is something the Ragnvald cannot allow, and he vows to kill Solvi, and take back his sister. How can revenge trump love, and how can there be any ending to such a task except further tragedy.
Hartsuyker takes us into a world of danger, secrecy, revenge, and glory, as well as savagery and romance. Her characters are amazingly likable with both their own faults and shortcomings as well as a solid dose of common sense. You are drawn to both sister and brother as their paths appear to merge, and you feel a hurtful tension knowing that both are in pain, and yet each has their own idea of what will set it right. In a world so set by visions of glory and revenge, who will prevail? This is a great epic tale that will play on for some time and you will be enthralled by the nuances.
If you enjoy history, epic tales of glory, romance, tales of courage, revenge and war you will find this to be a great read. Be ready to be drawn in and begin rooting for those you feel are in the right, which will be different for each reader.
You will enjoy this work of fiction that draws from bits and parts of history, tales, imagination and superstitions.