Set 10 years after the events of Sky in the Deep, the combined clan Aska, and the Riki, the Nādhir, and the Svell continue their ragged peace. Spurned by the cast of the runes, the truce is broken and the two sides seem thrust towards war. But two young people must do everything in the power to try to stop the bloodshed.
Tova is a Kyrr soothsayer who has been cautiously adopted into the Svell clan. Her mentor, Jorrund, found her on a beach when she was six.. The ways of the runes come back to her and she remembers how to thrown the bones and predict the future. Jorrund sees the use of this practice, but the rest of the clan see her as some sort of witch to be feared.
Halvard whom you may remember from Sky in the Deep (yes, Eelyn does make a small cameo in this book) is picked to be the next leader of the Nādhir. He is very reluctant to take on this role because he doesn’t think he is ready nor able to lead the men into war.
This book is everything you could want from a Viking story. The conflicts of the clans, forbidden attraction, and the ax and bow battles in the dark forests. The pacing is perfect as the story shifts back and forth between Halvard and Tova with a couple shifts back in time to help with the backstory. It may not be necessary to have read Sky in the Deep, but it helped to have read it to understand the culture that these people are living in. The gods, the blood feuds, and the rites of war.
Frankly, I loved this book. It had the feels, the right touch of internal vs external struggles that brought me close to these characters. And the reveals were placed so well that I kept on reading and reading to find out how these peoples would end up.
An amazing novel that could fit into any genre: coming of age, realistic battle scenes, and family drama. I was captivated. An escape that touches you.
5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for an advanced copy for review.