Book review - Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier
review by Becky
All young Eyvind ever wanted was to become a great Viking warrior--a Wolfskin--and perform honorable deeds out in the name of his War fathergod, Thor. He can think of no future more glorious. And the chance to make it happen is his when his older brother Ulf is brought the tale of a magical land across the sea, a place where men with courage could go to conquer a land and bring glory to themselves. They set out to find this fabled land and discover a windswept and barren place, but one filled with unexpected beauty and hidden treasures... and a people who are willing to share their bounty.
Ulf's new settlement begins in harmony with the natives of the isles led by the gentle king Engus. And Eyvind finds a treasure of his own in the young Nessa, niece of the king, seer, and princess. His life will change forever as she claims his heart for her own.
But someone has come along to this new land who is not what he seems. Eyvind's heartfriend, Somerled, the strange and lonely boy Eyvind befriended so long ago has a secret--and his own plans for the future. The blood oath that they swore in childhood binds them in lifelong loyalty, and Somerled is calling in the debt of honor. What he asks might just doom Evyind to kill the only thing that he has ever truly loved.
Will the price of honor create the destruction of all that Eyvind holds dear?
Critically acclaimed fantasist Juliet Marillier returns with the start of a new fantasy saga, a wonderful love story set amidst high adventure. Wolfskin is a lush tale of the clash between the warlike Norsemen and the mysterious and magical people who live at the top of the world in the land that will become Scotland--and it is the story of the man and woman who forge a bond that will remake their world.
Available on Amazon.com: Wolfskin
This is no ordinary eBook, this is no ordinary historical fiction eBook, this is a HUGE EPIC HISTORICAL FICTION eBook THAT WILL BLOW YOU AWAY! To quote the famous M&S adverts. It seriously took a very very long time finish but did I ever get bored? No. Did it ever feel too long? No. Did I enjoy every single moment reading it? Yes!
The storyline is EPIC in that it spans the lifetimes of two boys, two very different boys, one who dreams of becoming a Wolfskin of Thor (a beserker) another who dreams of becoming King, even though he is the second son of a Jarl and will not inherit much to even found his own kingdom. The story follows their unusual alliance and friendship during their youth and then follows the life of Eyvind whom completes a truly fantastically visioned beserker initiation ritual before Eyvind reunites with his odd companion as grown men Somerled (even the name doesn't feel right on the tongue so it matches his character). Through their blood alliance Eyvind helps get Somerled onto his older brother's expedition to claim land on we know as the Orkney islands. Unfortunately for Eyvin Somerled does some plotting of his own and brings him along much to Eyvinds horror as he would rather stay at home and continue to fight for his Jarl which is more familar territory.
However Somerled has been plotting far more than Eyvind or anyone else expects and as Eyvind witnesses one fatal accident on the voyage, a small nagging fear begins to sprout in his mind. The tale then switches focus between Eyvin's experience with Somerled and the neice of the ruling natives on Orkney, Nessa, who is training in the arts and practices of a priestess. Who's guidance will become increasingly sought after when the Norwegians arrive. Will these two tribes of people get along? Can the brutal norsemen live side by side with the natives? At first it seems such peaceful coexsitence can be achieved until another fatal accident involving Somerled starts a whirlwind of bloodfueled events that set the two peoples against each other. Will any of them survive? Will the endless feuds and power struggles be stopped? Will the ambitions of one determine the fate of many? Can anyone stop the rise of a tyrant who would kill anyone who stands up against him?
This is an epic portrayal of what may have happened when Orkney was discovered by the vikings, their influence still visible in the names of the place but the history of its native people, possible Celts, is so minute and vague that we truly will never know whether events like in this book did happen or if peaceful assimilation through marriage and children did occur. The story is so action packed, filled with beautiful enchanting description and each character so strong in the reader's mind that no matter how many times you finish a chapter, you won't be able to prevent yourself reading on to find out what happens next as each cliff-hanger links to an even bigger one. This is a highly recommended read for fans of viking historical fiction.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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