The final installment of Hartsuyker's epic trilogy (The Sea Queen, 2018, etc.) brings together old friends and foes with a new generation of characters to follow, admire, and cheer.
When we last saw Ragnvald, he was the captive of Solvi, his sister Svanhild's seafaring first husband, and in bad need of rescue. Years later, the venerated warrior feels the effects of old age and constant battle. As King Harald's best friend and most trusted warrior, Ragnvald manages the king’s ever expanding holdings while Harald is distracted by a beautiful new wife. To make matters worse, Ragnvald's visibility throughout the kingdom marks him as a suspected usurper of Harald's power. But it's Harald's scheming son, Halfdan, who presents the real problem. Tired of waiting his turn, Halfdan mounts a rebellion by gathering allies from Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden. Meanwhile, Svanhild has become disenchanted with her husband, Harald, despite having an unusual amount of freedom and power as his queen. So when she suddenly has the chance to return to Solvi, exiled in Iceland, she takes it. As Hartsuyker weaves the conclusion to her masterful epic, she artfully passes Ragnvald and Svanhild's story on to a new generation of characters. How have Svanhild and Ragnvald's complicated web of decisions affected their children? And what kind of world will they inherit once their parents are gone? Freydis, Svanhild and Solvi's teenage daughter, is a compelling new character, and she transforms from a scared young girl into a leader who wields soft power and political influence with a just hand. Ragnvald's sons, Ivar, Einar, and Rolli, each become, in their own ways, casualties to the constraints of Viking masculinity, steeped in both honor and vengeance. As the book races toward its conclusion, Ragnvald senses the fulfillment of an old prophecy and must decide whether to sacrifice himself for those he loves—or feed his family to the wolves.
A political whirlwind with adventure galore; Hartsuyker bows out on a high note.