Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Harald Hardrada: The Last Viking by Michael Burr

In the dead of night, a band of Vikings ravage a lonely convent on the Brittany coast –and their fearsome leader makes a decision that will eventually lead to his downfall.

Ranulf de Lannion is fifteen years old. Crippled, deformed and abandoned by his family to the charity of the convent, he is seized by the Vikings during a midnight raid. Contemptuously nicknamed 'The Scraeling" by his captors, his future appears grim.

Harald Sigurdsson, or 'Hardrada' as he will come to be known, is the leader of the Viking band. A violent mercenary with designs on the throne of Norway, Hardrada abducts The Scraeling on a whim.

Ranulf grows into an invaluable asset, smoothing Hardrada's path over their thirty-five years together from mercenary to commander of the Varangian Guard, all the way to king of Norway.

But all is not as it seems in the heart of Ranulf de Lannion. Having sworn secret revenge upon Hardrada for the murders at the convent, he vows to end the day of the Viking forever. When the king of Norway launches an attack against the Anglo-Saxon throne of England in 1066, what role will The Scraeling play in bringing the age of the Viking to an end?

Reviewer: QueenBee
Set in the 1000’s this historical fiction follows a band of Vikings throughout the years. Told in the third person by the Scrawling which I enjoyed as he is an interesting character . The Scrawling is a prize from one of their raids in France, he speaks few languages and is crippled in one leg. He seems a hindrance when you first meet him as young bo, but he becomes the heart of the band, looking out for Vikings who don’t always think with their brains.

It explores many countries and it was broken into sections, according to the period of time and place. It was well written and interesting as the author has clearly done his research. I have to give four and half stars. It was an interesting read, however it focused on the woman a little too much. Aren't Vikings meant to be blood curling savages who have one purpose for women?

Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing


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