Cnut: Revenge of a Viking Warrior
The 9th-century height of the Viking invasions is the setting for Miller’s third volume in the Cnut the Warrior series, which follows the title character through seasons of the kind of training, joking, sparring, fighting, and raiding that readers of the earlier volumes will be expecting. The story-arc of this third volume revolves around Cnut’s hatred for his rival, Bjarni (a wonderfully realized character in his own right), and his life-long burning wish to somehow deny Bjarni the Viking reward of a warrior’s afterlife in Valhalla. Along the way, Miller serves up gripping fight scenes, some very good glimpses of the atmosphere of both the Viking world and the world of their victims in Ireland, and also the kind of fast-paced lurid melodrama readers will find, for instance, in the novels of Ben Kane or Giles Kristian. Lines like “Both swords shone red in the flames, not from the firelight, but from the Irish blood dripping off the blades” abound in these pages, but Miller writes it all with such infectious energy that it is sure to please readers who like Viking fiction.