Sigurd’s Swords: A Viking Age Novel (Olaf’s Saga Book 2)

Written by Eric Schumacher
Review by Thomas j. Howley

In 968 AD, two young Norse warriors, Torgil and Olaf, find themselves fighting for their lives within the Swedish Viking-controlled land of the Rus under the command of Torgil’s uncle, Sigurd. Sigurd, in turn, is in the service of the Rus Grand Prince, Sviatoslav. The Grand Prince has never found a land he has not wanted to conquer, and his followers pay the price. There is a diverse variety of potential enemies to oppose the Rus, including Bolgars, Greeks, Pechenegs, and Slavs. During their martial travails, Torgil somehow makes attempts at developing a relationship with a tough woman warrior with the unfortunate name of “Turid.”

This book is the second in a series but reads fine as a stand-alone. Readers should be advised this is not a grand sweeping strategic historical epic but takes place in kinetic detail at the tactical level among common warriors. The novel includes gruesome, period and venue-appropriate intense violence, a bit of graphic sex, and odious yet realistic hygienic practices. There are also flashes of humor and a scant bit of incongruous romance. I would have found more details on the various tribes and nations involved besides the Vikings helpful and interesting. Despite all the superb, continuous action and exciting, vivid, and protracted accounts of medieval combat, at times the storyline seems a bit formulaic and soapy. There are also a few modernisms in the dialogue. Despite those nits, I still enjoyed this riveting book and dearly wish there were more like it. Though it won’t appeal to all, this book is strongly recommended for fans of historical action and adventure—a brawny, swashbuckling romp.