Written by James L. Nelson
Review by Cindy Vallar

Thorgrim Night Wolf wants to go home, but his family wants to stay in Dubh-Linn. Without a long ship, he must participate in another Norse raid and trust in Arinbjorn White-tooth’s promise to take him back to Norway afterward. After Thorgrim sneaks inside Cloyne without permission and, with help from his son Harald, Starri Deathless and other berserkers, they successfully capture the Irish settlement, Arinbjorn’s jealousy turns murderous.

Morrigan wants to rule Tara, but must first solidify her brother’s claim to the throne. One person stands in her way – Brigit, the daughter of the former king. She, too, has her own designs to rule, which is why she marries a lesser lord whom she can manipulate to do her bidding. To prevent this, Morrigan informs the bridegroom of Brigit’s pregnancy, even though they haven’t consummated their marriage. In the argument that ensues, Brigit slays her husband and then flees to Dubh-Linn where Harald, the father of her child, lives. With his help and that of other Vikings, she intends to regain the throne of Tara.

Uneasy alliances between enemies make for strange bedfellows, and no one truly trusts anyone else. Morrigan suggests a devious, but ingenious, plan to help her brother defeat the Vikings. Arinbjorn sees the impending battle as the perfect opportunity to kill Thorgrim. Thorgrim’s distrust of all three throws a wrench into all their plans.

Reminiscent of a twisting serpent, this second tale of The Norsemen Saga is deceptively complex and slowly builds to a stunning climax. Nelson deftly intertwines the two story threads – Viking and Irish – until they become as intricate as the artistic designs of the Celts and the Norse. His true-to-life characters, especially Thorgrim and Starri, capture our imagination and transport us back in time.