M.D. Lachlan

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 978-0-575-08959-4

Reveiwed by Mitenae, July 2010

Authun needs an heir but has no son. He travels to the West Men where it’s been foreseen by witches that he will find the son he needs. But when he discovers twins he must choose which to be his son and heir and which to leave with the witches. Sixteen years later Vali is living in Lord Forkbeard’s community and has fallen in love with Adisla, who he isn’t supposed to marry. But then their community is raided and she is stolen by Danes and Vali is determined to get her back no matter the cost.

When I first picked up this book what I noticed was that the back cover didn’t contain a blurb, rather it was covered in quotes telling me how good it was. This book is okay but for me it doesn’t live up to the hype littering it’s cover.

Although I’m fascinated by Norse (Viking) mythology, which this story explores, it didn’t hook me in, nor did I find that it fully explored and played with the mythology it uses. There’s a lot of facts about the Norse but for me it didn’t create the atmosphere I expected. The West Men, aka, the Celts, feel far too similar to the Norse and no effort appears to have been made to separate each culture out. I also found that I had no idea what era this was set in. I have no idea whether it is the third or the thirteenth. There isn’t enough in the worldbuilding or in the writing to set the story cleanly enough within a certain century. The device of twins separated at birth is not a new concept and this story doesn’t use it in any particular new or refreshing way. In a similar sense I would have liked more story, more layers, more depth than what it has, but the potential for it is there. Many may like this book but it isn’t a story I would return to readily.