The Raven Banner
This second book in Tim Hodkinson’s rip-roaring Viking adventure series, The Whale Road Chronicles, sees Einar plying his trade as a bard in the taverns of Jorvik until a surprise attack has him being rescued by his old friend, the Norse-Irish princess Affreca. She persuades him to join her and the Wolf Coats on a quest to find The Raven Banner. Legend has it that it was a gift from Odin and that any army that fights under it will be victorious, so Norway’s bloody king Erik, who is struggling to hold on to his power, has sent them to hunt it down.
Einar re-joins the Wolf Coats, and soon they are sailing, running, fighting, and generally trying not to get killed. The character development across the two books really encourages the reader to root for this band of friends, who fight and die with and for each other. Einar is a brilliant protagonist as he grows, falters and changes through hardship, friendship, and adventure. This series is an absolute must for fans of historical adventure, such as Bernard Cornwell’s Last Kingdom series, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and James Wilde’s Dark Age sequence.