In the Shadow of the Beast (The Saga of Hasting the Avenger)

Written by C.J. Adrien
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Around the 840s AD, an island called Vindreyland off the coast of Amorica, the part of Gaul between the Seine and Loire rivers, is ruled by a Viking named Hasting. Challenging his rule is Ragnar, a powerful Danish warlord. Hasting, born in Jutland, was raised by the Celts, sworn enemies of the Danes, in Ireland as their slave. Ragnar is defeated in a one-on-one clash and vows revenge.

Hasting must then leave Vindreyland to obtain slaves to mine the salt on the island, and to find Renard, a Frank Count of Nantes, who he blames for the death of his beloved. His venture takes him down the Seine and into the land of the Franks, where he is captured and imprisoned.

This novel is the second book in the Saga of Hasting the Avenger. I will try to find and read the first book to obtain more background about the main characters, especially those of Hasting and Renard and the loss of Hasting’s beloved at Renard’s hand. This entertaining novel can be read as a stand-alone. The author places the reader into the thick of the tale, sharing the pain and grief of the main character. A must-read for those who enjoy Viking stories.