The Half-Drowned King
Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson's father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family's land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather's betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It's not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather's cruelty comes at the hand of her brother's arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.

The Half-Drowned King Details

TitleThe Half-Drowned King
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherHarper
ISBN0062563696
ISBN-139780062563699
Number of pages448 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical, Fiction

The Half-Drowned King Review

  • Sandy
    July 24, 2017
    3.5 starsWhen I read the description for this book my first thought was “Gimme!”, for a couple of reasons. I’ve done a lot of family genealogical research & was intrigued to find that some of my dodgy ancestors began life in Norway before taking a wrong turn & landing on the shores of Scotland in the 15th century. Men…just will not ask for directions. But suddenly I understood why I’ve always wanted a helmet with horns. It’s genetic.The other thing that caught my eye were comparisons mad 3.5 starsWhen I read the description for this book my first thought was “Gimme!”, for a couple of reasons. I’ve done a lot of family genealogical research & was intrigued to find that some of my dodgy ancestors began life in Norway before taking a wrong turn & landing on the shores of Scotland in the 15th century. Men…just will not ask for directions. But suddenly I understood why I’ve always wanted a helmet with horns. It’s genetic.The other thing that caught my eye were comparisons made to “Game of Thrones”, “Vikings” & “Outlander”, 3 epic tales that sweep you off your feet & drop you firmly in the muck & mayhem of the past. More on this later.In this first of a trilogy, we’re introduced to Ragnvald Eysteinsson & his sister Svanhild. The story begins with Ragnvald aboard a ship that is returning home from a raid. Instead of a warm welcome, someone tries to kill him on orders from his stepfather Olaf. Ragnvald stands to inherit a sizeable inheritance from his deceased father but Olaf has other plans. It’s a pivotal moment that sets in motion everything that follows as Ragnvald seeks to regain his birthright & give Svanhild a better life. The story is based on sagas of King Harald that were written in the 13th century & it’s obvious the author has done extensive research. Settings are atmospheric & rich in cultural detail. You gain a great sense of how these people lived & what they believed. This is the book’s strong point & what I enjoyed most. Unfortunately, the main characters fared less well. There is something missing that I have trouble putting my finger on…depth or passion…that prevents them from becoming fully fleshed out. My other issue was with pacing. You’d expect a bit of a roller coaster, ranging from the mundane of everyday life to epic battles but oddly enough there’s not much difference between how these are portrayed. Maybe that’s the point. Whether you’re having dinner or engaged in swordplay, it’s all in a day’s work if you’re a viking.Hence the problem with comparing it to the 3 series above. Because of the bold & colourful characters in those stories, you become deeply invested in their fates & feel a range of emotion that places you firmly in the grip of the narrative. Here, due to the author’s impressive knowledge of period detail, the setting often outshines the characters. I was also hoping for the inclusion of more Norse mythology as it was a significant influence on their belief system but that’s a minor personal quibble.As always, it comes down to what you look for in a story & there are plenty of readers (and fans of the series mentioned above) who have given this high marks. So if you’re in the mood for some old fashioned raiding, give it a go. The good news is there are 2 more in the works. Oh, and the helmets? Turns out there’s next to no evidence any self respecting viking would’ve been caught dead in one. Great….anyone want to buy a set of horns?
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  • Emily
    April 13, 2017
    I really wanted to love this book, but it lost my interest about two-thirds of the way through. It's carefully detailed historical fiction set in ninth-century Norway, based on the Heimskringla and featuring siblings as the main protagonists. Unfortunately, the characters don't live up to the promising start, and the action-packed plot - which too often relies on poorly written character conflict to push it forward - becomes increasingly tiresome. By the end, I barely cared what happened and was I really wanted to love this book, but it lost my interest about two-thirds of the way through. It's carefully detailed historical fiction set in ninth-century Norway, based on the Heimskringla and featuring siblings as the main protagonists. Unfortunately, the characters don't live up to the promising start, and the action-packed plot - which too often relies on poorly written character conflict to push it forward - becomes increasingly tiresome. By the end, I barely cared what happened and was somewhat dismayed that there are apparently two (!) more planned books in this series. The real problem with this story is Ragnvald, who spends the book working towards reclaiming his birthright from his villainous stepfather, Olaf. Ragnvald is portrayed as a headstrong young warrior whose conceptions of morality are grounded in heroic tales, and he's frequently his own worst enemy (particularly at the ting). However, the rest of the plot - where Ragnvald is torn between two kings - requires him to give wise counsel, suggest the winning battle plans, accurately assess his fellows with unparalleled insight, and prove his worth so handily that he's famed among the warriors. He's only "headstrong" when the novel needs to find a flaw for him, or when it helps the plot. This would work if there were believable character development in the novel, but the packed plot and split protagonists make that difficult. The other characters are not much better than Ragnvald. Many of the decisions and turning points are marked by conversations between the kings and Ragnvald, and those conversations are flat and unbelievable. There's no interesting or believable political intrigue here: you can see the author dragging the story along. Ragnvald's foil, Oddi, is only that - a foil. Ragnvald's sister Svanhild is a more fully-realized character, but it's hard to get a handle on her (is she a competent housekeeper despite being a terrible spinner?). I liked the Svanhild-Solvi storyline the most, but (view spoiler)[it would have been nice to have the romance drawn out a little bit more (hide spoiler)]. The heart of this novel, in my opinion, is Ragnvald's quest to reclaim his birthright from Olaf, who has tried to have him killed. (view spoiler)[But that falls REALLY flat as well and is quite unsatisfying. Ragnvald's hunger for his birthright is the engine of the plot, but he doesn't actively work to achieve it. When he finally does, those scenes were disappointing. If Ragnvald's other life as a king's advisor had been interesting or believable, there might have been a good conflict between his birthright and his life elsewhere. (hide spoiler)] It's clear that the author is trying to follow the sagas very closely, but this would be a better novel if it had gone off-script to find the most compelling part of the story.Finally, this book desperately needs a map. If you pick it up after publication and there is no map in the front, drop it immediately. This is a litany of place names and voyages from one point of Norway to the other. It can get really confusing when it's not grounded visually.
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  • Rick
    February 23, 2017
    Disclosure: I read an advanced reader's copy loaned to me by a friend.I'm pretty choosy about historical fiction. Having read quite a few of the original sagas on which this novel is based, I admit to approaching it with a bit of trepidation. Surely it couldn't live up to the real thing, I thought. Surely the author would make some elementary mistakes about early medieval mentality. I'm pleased to say that I was totally wrong. This is a great book, and one of the best works of historical fiction Disclosure: I read an advanced reader's copy loaned to me by a friend.I'm pretty choosy about historical fiction. Having read quite a few of the original sagas on which this novel is based, I admit to approaching it with a bit of trepidation. Surely it couldn't live up to the real thing, I thought. Surely the author would make some elementary mistakes about early medieval mentality. I'm pleased to say that I was totally wrong. This is a great book, and one of the best works of historical fiction I've read since O'Brian. Admittedly it may not be for everyone, as it centers around themes of revenge and violence - but, after all, those are dominant themes in the saga. Hartsuyker takes a brother/sister pair as her co-protagonists, and follows them through a tour of late 9th-century Norway and some of the real (Harald Fair-Hair) and fictional characters that populate it. Ragnovald is seeking vengeance against his stepfather for actions that occur both early in the novel and offstage. He links his fate to a series of striking characters, his stature and reputation rising as his wise counsel and heroic actions impress a series of jarls and kings. His sister, Svanhild, also has to make her way in this world; unhappy about the impending forced marriage arranged by her stepfather, and anxious to locate Ragnovald, she strikes out on her own ... at least, as much as a woman in Saga Norway could do. Hartsuyker did a good job of making Svanhild an engaging and active protoganist while still respecting (and explaining) the gender norms of the period.Both characters were well drawn, and exhibit some development across the tale. Yet it is the surrounding cast - Oddi, Hakon, Heming, Harald, Thorkell, etc., the author's careful recreation of the world of the 9th century, and the fast-moving plot that makes this novel shine. I recommend this to anyone interested in viking-era Europe, and look forward to the promised future volumes featuring Ragnovald (and, hopefully, Svanhild). (less)
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  • Moni2506
    July 23, 2017
    „Krone und Feuer“ ist der erste Teil aus der Fjordlandsaga, der die Anfänge des jungen und zukünftigen König Haralds erzählt. Der Roman von Linnea Hartsuyker wurde im Juli 2017 im Ullstein-Verlag veröffentlicht. Norwegen, Ende des 9. Jahrhunderts: Ragnvald und Svanhild wachsen in einer Zeit des Umbruchs auf. König Hakon regiert einen Teil Norwegens, der ansonsten in viele kleine Königreiche zersplittert ist. Sein Schwiegersohn Harald schickt sich an König von ganz Norwegen werden. Nach einem Att „Krone und Feuer“ ist der erste Teil aus der Fjordlandsaga, der die Anfänge des jungen und zukünftigen König Haralds erzählt. Der Roman von Linnea Hartsuyker wurde im Juli 2017 im Ullstein-Verlag veröffentlicht. Norwegen, Ende des 9. Jahrhunderts: Ragnvald und Svanhild wachsen in einer Zeit des Umbruchs auf. König Hakon regiert einen Teil Norwegens, der ansonsten in viele kleine Königreiche zersplittert ist. Sein Schwiegersohn Harald schickt sich an König von ganz Norwegen werden. Nach einem Attentat auf das Lebens Ragnvalds, sind beide Geschwister mehr oder weniger auf sich alleine gestellt. Ragnvald schließt sich dem jungen Harald an, um im Zuge dessen, irgendwann sein Erbe von seinem Schwiegervater Olaf zurückzuerlangen und seine Schwester Svanhild dient als politsche Schachfigur, die durch eine Heirat neue Verbündete schaffen kann. Wieder ein Buch, bei dem es mir schwer fällt eine Bewertung zu schreiben. Anfangs hat mir das Buch absolut gar nicht gefallen. Erst bei ca. 40% fängt das Buch an für mich besser zu werden als Harald sich anschickt ganz Norwegen für sich zu erobern und es die ersten Schlachten gibt.Der Schreibstil ist ok, konnte mich aber nicht wirklich überzeugen und das Kopfkino war nicht immer gegeben. Gerade am Anfang hatte ich mit den Dialogen ganz arge Probleme, weil ich überhaupt nicht verstanden habe, wie man von dem einen zum anderen Thema kommt. Ich bin ja selber auch ein Profi im geistigen Froschhüpfen, aber da bin selbst ich nicht mitgekommen. Lange Zeit hatte ich auch nicht wirklich das Gefühl einen historischen Roman zu lesen. Die Jahreszahlen über den Kapiteln fehlen vollständig und zu Beginn war es für mich mehr eine nordisch angehauchte Geschichte, die den Weg zweier Geschwister im Norwegen des 9. Jahrhunderts zeigt. Wir bekommen Einblicke in die nordischen Rituale und Gepflogenheiten und sehen im Verlauf des Buches auch die Änderungen, die Harald anstrebt. Mit dem Nachwort klärt sich hier einiges auf. Wirklich gesicherte Erkenntnisse gibt es zu dieser Zeit Norwegens nicht. Die Geschichte von Harald und seiner Eroberung Norwegens wurde erst 4. Jahrhunderte später von Snorri Sturloson aufgeschrieben und so fällt meine Bewertung als historischer Roman doch noch positiver aus. Auch zu den Personen an sich, konnte ich keine wirkliche Verbindung aufbauen. Erzählt wird die Geschichte aus der Sicht von Ragnvald, Svanhild und Solvis. Alle drei gingen mir teilweise richtig auf die Nerven. Solvi, weil er vor einer Frau nicht zu seinen Taten stehen kann und auch noch ein schlechtes Gewissen bekommt, Ragnvald und Svanhild weil beide teilweise sehr stur sind. Viele Informationen zu den Personen fallen auch lapidar in einem Nebensatz und ich hab mich gefragt, wo das denn nun plötzlich herkommt. Da wurde plötzlich eine gewisse Zuneigung zweier Personen angedeutet, die vorher in keinster Weise zu erkennen war. Oder wo die Person vorher ganz sicher war, dass sie ein mystisches Wesen getötet hat, reicht ein Gespräch aus, um sie vom Gegenteil zu überzeugen. Im Nachhinein war dann plötzlich doch irgendwie alles komisch und so wirklich hat man ja eh nicht dran geglaubt. Hier kommen einige Dinge zusammen, die mich sehr gestört haben, auch wenn sich dies im Verlaufe des Buches gelegt hat. Abgerundet wird der Roman, zusätzlich zum Nachwort, mit einem Personen-, Orts- und Quellenverzeichnis sowie einer kurzen Erklärung zu den Namen, die die Autorin gewählt hat. Gerade bei den Namen finde ich hat die Autorin ein gutes Gespür bewiesen, so dass es für den Leser einfacher wird die Geschichte zu verfolgen. Fazit: Ein mittelmäßiger historisch angehauchter Roman. Gesicherte Fakten gibt es nicht wirklich, aber die Autorin hat durchaus eine interessante Geschichte aus der dürftigen Quellenlage geformt. Wer nordische Geschichte mag und sich für die Heimskringla interessiert, ist in diesem Roman gut aufgehoben.
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  • Julianna
    April 16, 2017
    I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Advanced Readers' Edition of this book and it was a total delight. The story draws the reader in immediately with a pivotal, gripping, life-and-death situation that sets the entirety of the rest of the novel up within the very first chapter and tells the reader a ton about the characters right off the bat. The plot then moves along at a very satisfying pace, with moments of sword-clanging, visceral action juxtaposed flawlessly with quieter moments of intr I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Advanced Readers' Edition of this book and it was a total delight. The story draws the reader in immediately with a pivotal, gripping, life-and-death situation that sets the entirety of the rest of the novel up within the very first chapter and tells the reader a ton about the characters right off the bat. The plot then moves along at a very satisfying pace, with moments of sword-clanging, visceral action juxtaposed flawlessly with quieter moments of introspection and even romance. The characters are believable, well fleshed out and wonderfully human and flawed. As an avid Potterhead, I realized midway through the book that Ragnavald (one of the two main characters) is very much a Slytherin, displaying a slightly different version of himself depending on who his audience is, and yet going about it in a cunning and subtle way. He wants to believe himself a hero, but the fact is he is more of a reluctant plotter, a role he uncomfortably realizes that he is actually pretty good at, once he learns to get out of his own way.Svanhild's conflict is also quite compelling, whether to choose freedom with its subsequent danger and uncertainty, or to choose security with its binding ties. Like Ragnavald, her motivations are complex and it's fascinating to watch her figure it out, and then come to terms with her choices, for better or for worse. Solvi is just...mmm. Yummy. He's yummy. And a scrappy, fatalistic little f**ker with a wonderfully unsettling backstory. The rest of the supporting cast is memorable, different enough to keep the reader interested in what they are trying to do as alliances and goals shift and shift again. The setting is also spectacularly realized and it's clear from the descriptions that this is a part of the world that is sacred and fundamentally beautiful to the author. Her prose is almost cinematic in its scope, to the point that the reader can almost see the icy waterfalls, hear the barking of the seals, feel the harsh winds of the fjords and smell the damp wood, pine pitch, and wool sails of the Viking ships. In sum, the Half-Drowned King is a book to sink into, to have it envelop you in a way that few novels can. Kudos and see you on August 1st.
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  • Marta
    July 4, 2017
    The sense of living in a dangerous time permeates every page as does the feel of the natural world of Norway in the 900's. The story is told from the points of view of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild. Loyal to eachother, they are about all they have as Ragnvald tries to re-claim his deceased father's land and Svanhild tries to avoid marriage and have a say in how her own life will unfold.My description is not doing the story justice. The sense of place, the danger of the times, the tense wars a The sense of living in a dangerous time permeates every page as does the feel of the natural world of Norway in the 900's. The story is told from the points of view of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild. Loyal to eachother, they are about all they have as Ragnvald tries to re-claim his deceased father's land and Svanhild tries to avoid marriage and have a say in how her own life will unfold.My description is not doing the story justice. The sense of place, the danger of the times, the tense wars and alliances brings to mind the Game of Thrones series without the gratuitous sex and violence-although there is violence a plenty and Vikings were not big respecters of women! However, it feels drawn the way it needs to be to tell the story well and recreate a fascinating group of people.
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  • The Idle Woman
    April 19, 2017
    3.5 stars.This rollicking tale of Viking adventure opens with oar-dancing in the first sentence, which boded very well for the rest of the story. Based on the sagas of Harald Fairhair written by Snorri Sturluson in his Heimskringla in the 13th century, it looks back to the Norway of the late 9th century, a fragmented peninsula of petty kings and ruthless raiders. Focusing on the stories of a brother and sister fighting to realise their destinies, it’s an engaging tale spiced with the beliefs of 3.5 stars.This rollicking tale of Viking adventure opens with oar-dancing in the first sentence, which boded very well for the rest of the story. Based on the sagas of Harald Fairhair written by Snorri Sturluson in his Heimskringla in the 13th century, it looks back to the Norway of the late 9th century, a fragmented peninsula of petty kings and ruthless raiders. Focusing on the stories of a brother and sister fighting to realise their destinies, it’s an engaging tale spiced with the beliefs of medieval Scandinavia...For the full review, please see my blog:https://theidlewoman.net/2017/04/19/t...
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  • Lekeisha The Booknerd
    March 30, 2017
    RTC! If you love Vikings (the show), then I suggest adding this to your list.
  • Roman Clodia
    May 26, 2017
    "Huntiof took up the bag of arm-rings and called forth the men who had raided along with him, Solvi narrating their deeds and giving them each a ring... Some were not happy"I found this a limp and bloodless tale, thin and surprisingly unexciting. The reason is that too much is told to us rather than dramatised as in the quotation above: we're told that Solvi narrates the deeds of the raiders but we don't hear them; we're told that some of the Vikings are unhappy with their rewards, we don't see "Huntiof took up the bag of arm-rings and called forth the men who had raided along with him, Solvi narrating their deeds and giving them each a ring... Some were not happy"I found this a limp and bloodless tale, thin and surprisingly unexciting. The reason is that too much is told to us rather than dramatised as in the quotation above: we're told that Solvi narrates the deeds of the raiders but we don't hear them; we're told that some of the Vikings are unhappy with their rewards, we don't see them vocalising or acting out their dissatisfaction, or know why. Hartsuyer consistently misses these opportunities to fill out her story with telling details and actions. Take, too, the opening scene of a race along the oars of a long-ship: it's tame, it's bland, it doesn't grab the reader: the same set-piece in the hands of a far better writer (Dorothy Dunnett's oar race in King Hereafter ) is pulsatingly, breathtakingly, dangerous and tells us important things about the culture we're in and the characters in the scene.I really wanted to love this modern take on Norse epic but found it dull, unconvincing and overly predictable - very disappointing.
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  • Karen
    February 5, 2017
    If you love Vikings, historical fiction, or fantasy (or even if you don’t), you will immediately be drawn into the world of 9th century Norway in Linnea Hartsuyker’s debut novel, The Half-Drowned King. Tightly plotted and described, this is a story based on an Icelandic saga about King Harald, who unified Norway during the 9th century. The main characters are a brother (Ragnvald) and sister (Svanhild) whose ancestral land has been kept by their stepfather since their father’s death some years be If you love Vikings, historical fiction, or fantasy (or even if you don’t), you will immediately be drawn into the world of 9th century Norway in Linnea Hartsuyker’s debut novel, The Half-Drowned King. Tightly plotted and described, this is a story based on an Icelandic saga about King Harald, who unified Norway during the 9th century. The main characters are a brother (Ragnvald) and sister (Svanhild) whose ancestral land has been kept by their stepfather since their father’s death some years before the action commences.Beginning in chapter one, the action is brisk throughout the novel, and the complex motivations of the characters evolve as these young adults mature. Svanhild is a feminist who chafes at the strictures that limit her options, though she finds adventure from a perhaps surprising direction. Ragnvald wants to lay claim to his inheritance and get to the bottom of his father’s death. Though deeply devoted to each other, the goals of these siblings come into conflict, providing suspense and plot complications. Hartsuyker shows that both villains and heroes have understandable motivations that drive their actions.I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to read this novel, the first of a planned trilogy spanning the lives of the characters and their children. Since my ancestry goes all the way back to King Harald, I was particularly delighted to read such a richly textured description of a world that, though tough, has its own consistency and integrity
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  • Sarah
    March 30, 2017
    Full review at Reading the Past (originally published in Booklist).
  • Justin Williams
    July 20, 2017
    (This review was posted to the Staff Picks page of White Oak Library District and may be used for Reader's Advisory.)I'm currently reading an ARC that I found at ALA called "The Half Drowned King" by Linnea Hartsuyker. This is a historical fiction novel that takes place in Viking-era Norway. Ragnvald Eyesteinsson grew up reading tales of myth and legend in the Viking sagas, believing he would one day inherit the lands that were rightfully his from his stepfather after his father died when he was (This review was posted to the Staff Picks page of White Oak Library District and may be used for Reader's Advisory.)I'm currently reading an ARC that I found at ALA called "The Half Drowned King" by Linnea Hartsuyker. This is a historical fiction novel that takes place in Viking-era Norway. Ragnvald Eyesteinsson grew up reading tales of myth and legend in the Viking sagas, believing he would one day inherit the lands that were rightfully his from his stepfather after his father died when he was a boy. Coming home from a Viking raid in Ireland, Ragnvald's face is cut and he is thrown from his ship by a man he believed to be his friend and leader. He did not die, however, and his soul would not rest in the Ran's underwater halls that day. Ragnvald wakes up to come home and seek what is his by Norse law and seek revenge upon his stepfather who he believes orchestrated the attempted murder. All the while, Ragnvald's sister Svanhild must endure the trials of being a woman at this point in history. She wants more than to be taken by a man and wait to grow old, so she journeys off to find Ragnvald once again, stopped and slowed along the way by her brother's attempted murderer who wishes to marry her.If you're a fan of historical fiction of this period, you're in for a wild ride. Much like Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles, Hartsuyker's debut novel follows Ragnvald and Svanhild across Norway, into Northern Germany, and across Nordic seas. Its epic landscape is imagined thoroughly by very careful research into classic texts, including many of the Norse sagas. While the story is captivating, I find most interesting the setting and culture of 10th-11th century Norway. This was a period of bloodshed, brutality and war. When many think of the people of this region in this period in history, we think of savage barbarians pillaging, burning, and committing acts of sexual violence. While this all happened, there was, however, also a deep respect for honor, loyalty, family, law, religion and nature among both men and women. All of these themes are explored in depth in "The Half Drowned King". It comes out August 1.
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  • Kim McGee
    May 25, 2017
    Ultimate imagined story of the founding Norwegian Viking families. There are the same political alliances, sworn oaths and bloodshed that you find in the other cultures but this story starts with a jolt and spirals with twice the action. Ragnvald wants to take over his birthright and wed the beautiful Hilda but must first survive an assassination attempt, the loss of his land by the very man who held it and paid to have him done in and the assassin himself. Solvi wants Ragnvald's sister for hims Ultimate imagined story of the founding Norwegian Viking families. There are the same political alliances, sworn oaths and bloodshed that you find in the other cultures but this story starts with a jolt and spirals with twice the action. Ragnvald wants to take over his birthright and wed the beautiful Hilda but must first survive an assassination attempt, the loss of his land by the very man who held it and paid to have him done in and the assassin himself. Solvi wants Ragnvald's sister for himself but she will have nothing to do with the man who tried to kill her brother and then buy his way out of it until she begins to see him for who he really is and the freedom he can offer her. Dramatic and blood thirsty representation of a proud race where loyalty, courage and political alliances meant everything-even more than family. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Seth
    July 26, 2017
    A good balance between action and character with enough flavor of the era and region to make it feel like a saga even as it's far more readable. I enjoyed following Ragnvald and Svanhild through all their twists of fate and it is a tribute to the author that I liked and rooted for both of them, even when they found themselves on opposite sides of issues or conflicts. It did become apparent, however, a bit more than half way through, that the tale wasn't headed for resolution in this volume - eve A good balance between action and character with enough flavor of the era and region to make it feel like a saga even as it's far more readable. I enjoyed following Ragnvald and Svanhild through all their twists of fate and it is a tribute to the author that I liked and rooted for both of them, even when they found themselves on opposite sides of issues or conflicts. It did become apparent, however, a bit more than half way through, that the tale wasn't headed for resolution in this volume - even before I discovered it was the start of a planned trilogy. Though I'm sure there's much more of the story to tell, I would have admired either a more satisfying conclusion or a little more expedition on the author's part when it came to moving things forward.
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  • Sam
    December 31, 2016
    Review forthcoming.
  • Kerstin
    July 13, 2017
    In "Krone und Feuer" erzählt Hartsuyker die Geschichte von Ragnvald und Svanhild, einem Geschwisterpaar, das zunächst gemeinsam versucht, an das rechtmäßige Erbe ihres Vaters zu kommen, im Laufe des Buches aber getrennte Wege geht und unterschiedliche Ziele und Loyalitäten entwickelt. In der Inhaltsangabe steht bereits, dass Ragnvalds Erzfeind ein Interesse an Svanhild zeigt und dieser Handlungsstrang entwickelt sich so, wie man es sich vorstellen würde - die Geschwister stehen in dem großen Kon In "Krone und Feuer" erzählt Hartsuyker die Geschichte von Ragnvald und Svanhild, einem Geschwisterpaar, das zunächst gemeinsam versucht, an das rechtmäßige Erbe ihres Vaters zu kommen, im Laufe des Buches aber getrennte Wege geht und unterschiedliche Ziele und Loyalitäten entwickelt. In der Inhaltsangabe steht bereits, dass Ragnvalds Erzfeind ein Interesse an Svanhild zeigt und dieser Handlungsstrang entwickelt sich so, wie man es sich vorstellen würde - die Geschwister stehen in dem großen Konflikt um die Herrschaft in Norwegen nicht auf der gleichen Seite, was emotional aufwühlende Szenen und tragische Momente liefert. In einem Nachwort wird erklärt, dass zwar einige Aspekte erfunden wurden, ansonsten scheint "Krone und Feuer" (soweit ich es beurteilen kann) jedoch sehr authentisch zu sein und aus den bekannten Fakten und Ereignissen ist eine packende, spannende Geschichte entstanden. Sie ist keineswegs nur eine Aneinanderreihung von Schlachten und Blutvergießen, obwohl diese eine wichtige Rolle spielen. Die Autorin gibt dem Leser auch Einblicke in das Leben der damaligen Zeit, die Gebräuche und Sitten, aber auch die politische Lage, die durch die Bemühungen König Haralds, das Land geeint zu regieren, sehr prekär und spannungsgeladen war. Besonders interessant fand ich den Fokus auf der Rolle von Frauen, ihre Möglichkeiten und die Probleme, mit denen sie zu kämpfen haben; Svanhild ist eine starke Protagonistin, die genau weiß, was sie will und versucht, das beste aus ihrer Situation zu machen, was auf jeden Fall bewundernswert ist. Aber auch ihr Bruder muss einige Hürden überwinden, um sein Ziel zu erreichen. Gut gefallen hat mir, dass die Charaktere sowohl Siege als auch Niederlagen erfahren; in vielen Büchern ist vorhersehbar, dass erst einmal alles schief gehen wird, bevor dann doch alles gut endet, doch obwohl es in diesem Buch Rückschläge gibt, haben die Figuren auch Glück. So blieb die Handlung meiner Meinung nach interessant und man konnte nie sicher sein, wie es nun weiter gehen würde, ob wieder eine schmerzliche Niederlage oder großer Triumph folgen würde. Ebenfalls toll fand ich, dass die Autorin alle Positionen in dem Konflikt als verständlich darstellt; ihre Charaktere vertreten sehr unterschiedliche Ansichten und sind oft gegeneinander positioniert, doch man kann jeden von ihnen verstehen, ihre Motivationen, Hoffnungen und Ängste sind gut herausgearbeitet. Dadurch wirkt die Geschichte balanciert; die meisten Figuren haben zudem klare Schwächen und Stärken, sodass sie lebendig wirken, sodass niemand einfach als 'der Böse' abgeschrieben werden kann. Das Buch ist in sich recht geschlossen; die Haupthandlung ist beendet und der zu Beginn präsentierte Konflikt gelöst, allerdings bleibt noch einiges offen, sodass ich gespannt auf die Fortsetzung und das weitere Schicksal der Protagonisten bin._________________Herzlichen Dank an den Verlag, der mir das Buch über Netgalley zur Verfügung gestellt hat.
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  • Liv
    July 19, 2017
    ANMERKUNG: Vielen Dank den Ullstein Buchverlagen für dieses Vorabexemplar.Krone und FeuerWikinger, Verschwörung und Krieg.Ich liebe Verschwörungen und Krieg und die Wikinger sind auch cool. Der Inhalt schien auch interessant und "The half-drowned king" ist einer der coolsten Titel, die ich diesen Monat gehört habe.Leider zog sich die erste Hälfte des Romans endlos hin. Das sieht man ganz gut, wenn man mal meine Status-Updates ansieht. Ich war schon kurz davor, das Buch einfach liegen zu lassen, ANMERKUNG: Vielen Dank den Ullstein Buchverlagen für dieses Vorabexemplar.Krone und FeuerWikinger, Verschwörung und Krieg.Ich liebe Verschwörungen und Krieg und die Wikinger sind auch cool. Der Inhalt schien auch interessant und "The half-drowned king" ist einer der coolsten Titel, die ich diesen Monat gehört habe.Leider zog sich die erste Hälfte des Romans endlos hin. Das sieht man ganz gut, wenn man mal meine Status-Updates ansieht. Ich war schon kurz davor, das Buch einfach liegen zu lassen, aber dafür war es nicht schlecht genug. Und nach gut einem Drittel nahm die Geschichte richtig Fahrt auf. Die Hauptpersonen, die Geschwister Svanhild und Ragnvald haben abwechslungsweise Kapitel aus ihrer Sicht und beide waren spannend und mitreissend beschrieben (Auch wenn mir Svanhild besser gefallen hat).Wenn man sich also durch den ersten Teil durchgekämpft hat, ist Krone und Feuer ein sehr lohnendes Buch und ich warte schon gespannt auf die Fortsetzung der Fjordlandsaga
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  • Alicia
    July 12, 2017
    http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2017/07...This is the first in a trilogy, retelling the story of the rise of the first King of Norway, from the POVs of a young man and his sister who become central to the various political conflicts. Normally I am not super interested in violent epics, but the writing here kept me intrigued, and I was of course very interested in the sister's story as she chafes against the roles women are confined to in the 9th century, and instead takes inspiration from legendar http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2017/07...This is the first in a trilogy, retelling the story of the rise of the first King of Norway, from the POVs of a young man and his sister who become central to the various political conflicts. Normally I am not super interested in violent epics, but the writing here kept me intrigued, and I was of course very interested in the sister's story as she chafes against the roles women are confined to in the 9th century, and instead takes inspiration from legendary tales. Parts of this were a bit slow, and there is a lot of carnage (and mentions of rape), but I will refrain from googling so I can be surprised at where the story goes in subsequent volumes. B+.__A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on August 1st.
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  • Cattylou
    May 11, 2017
    Really loved this book! Excited it's a series and looking forward to the second book! It mixes Norse mythology and life in 9th century Scandinavia with interesting, well developed characters, including some female characters who have a mind of their own. I've been recommending this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and/or fiction based on mythology. I don't really understand the comparisons to Game of Thrones at all, I compare it more to Jane Smiley's Greenlanders, but with more adven Really loved this book! Excited it's a series and looking forward to the second book! It mixes Norse mythology and life in 9th century Scandinavia with interesting, well developed characters, including some female characters who have a mind of their own. I've been recommending this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and/or fiction based on mythology. I don't really understand the comparisons to Game of Thrones at all, I compare it more to Jane Smiley's Greenlanders, but with more adventure and exploration.
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  • Laura
    June 30, 2017
    3.5. I did enjoy this historical novel of Viking Norway and will read the next books in this series, but I will say that it reads quite slow. Despite there being battles and such, it's not the fast read that Game of Thrones is, yet the plot is similar in vain to that. Overall, not sure who I would recommend it to. I think only people who love historical fiction and are interested in the Viking era.*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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  • Ron S
    July 24, 2017
    A page turning saga of ninth century Vikings during the violent birth of Scandinavia. Linnea Hartsuyker, in her fiction debut, manages a rare triple with a novel that will appeal to readers who appreciate a great story, compelling characters, and sense of place. The first of a trilogy, this Dewey Diva pick is worthy of obvious comparisons to Game of Thrones and the TV series The Lost Kingdom and Vikings.
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  • M M
    July 13, 2017
    A time-pass book for a lazy holiday. If you're looking for a stirring retelling of the Norse sagas (on which this novel is based) this is not it. It has none of the lyricism and passion and bardic quality of those prose poems. But events march along and you can be carried with them as long as you're not easily distracted by something more interesting on TV...
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  • Liz De Coster
    July 23, 2017
    Started off engagingly, introducing the reader to the main characters, the world, and the conflicts that power the story. After a while I found the conflicts got a little too tangled and some of the characterizations were inconsistent, so the latter half of the book wasn't as engaging or absorbing.
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  • Sophie
    June 23, 2017
    Was sort of hoping for more with this... admittedly, I didn't do a very good read and plan to update this after I have a chance to read it more thoroughly, but... just fell a little flat.
  • Rachel Speakes
    July 22, 2017
    3.5 Stars
  • Sharon
    July 2, 2017
    Probably a 3.5 because there were times when I really felt the book's length. It's a very impressive debut, though, and I really hope it finds its audience! (I was reading an ARC)
  • Laura Valentine
    January 23, 2017
    So slow at the start. So slow. DNF.
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