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"Viking Fire" by Justin Hill

Posted: Sun January 29th, 2017, 12:32 am
by annis
Just finished Justin Hill's "Viking Fire", second book in his "Conquest" series based around the pivotal Battle of Hastings in 1066. I loved the first, ''Shieldwall", and seem to have been hanging out forever for this one, but it was well worth the wait.

The last great Viking king, Harald Sigurdsson, known more commonly by the epithet "Hardrada" (hard ruler) is the protagonist here. Because of his larger-than-life personality, aggrandised by the sagas, he's assumed a the status of a legend of almost mythic proportions. Hill makes the most of his dramatic life and deeds, but in using a wry first person voice, has given him genuine humanity, creating a flawed but likeable man quite aware of his own strengths and inconsistencies, a man who revels in his fame, fortune and status, but never takes himself too seriously - after all, he knows that the Norns weaving his fate might just cut the strings of his life at any unforeseen moment. It's very much morning, midday and eventide in structure and movingly elegaic as twlight approaches It's no world for an ageing hero, especially when his old companions have already made the voyage to Valhalla, leaving him behind. A true hero should go out in a blaze of glory, not dribble his way into dotage.

Wonderfully descriptive but unobtrusive prose absolutely nails the time, place and Viking worldview.

I found myself rooting for Harald all the way and (his fate being no secret) could hardly bear to read the last chapter. Have to admit to shedding a tear or two as I closed the book. Can't wait to see what Hill comes up with next time!

Re: "Viking Fire" by Justin Hill

Posted: Sun January 29th, 2017, 2:55 am
by Misfit
Thank you Annis, nice to see you around here :)

Re: "Viking Fire" by Justin Hill

Posted: Sun January 29th, 2017, 4:33 am
by annis
Thanks, Misfit :) Have been heavily involved in researching and writing up local history the last year or so and not getting to read so much fiction.