From Publishers Weekly
The clash of cultures and the limits of loyalty form the thematic framework of Marillier's compelling new stand-alone fantasy. Readers familiar with the author's Sevenwaters trilogy (Daughter of the Forest, etc.) will feel comfortable with the Dark Ages setting. Young Viking Eyvind dreams of serving the god Thor and the nobleman Ulf as an elite Wolfskin warrior. While training, he's charged with teaching Ulf's prickly younger brother Somerled, and the two become blood brothers, swearing lifelong loyalty. But the oath isn't enough to quiet suspicions about Somerled's ambitions to become a king and the means he might take to accomplish them. The two join Ulf on a voyage to a legendary land, "a place of warm sea currents, of verdant islands and sheltered waterways," home to the peaceful Folk of the Light Islands, ruled by King Engus. Though Engus extends a hand of friendship to the sea rovers, his niece, the young priestess Nessa, has her doubts about the warlike newcomers. When a foreign fever decimates the Folk but leaves the seafarers untouched, the truce begins to unravel. A multilayered plot, intriguing characters and lyrical prose distinguish a novel that, long as it is, never feels padded.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The only things young Eyvind has ever wanted--passionately!--are to be a Viking warrior, a Wolfskin, and to serve the mighty war god, Thor. One summer night during his fifteenth year, Wolfskins take Eyvind from the home of his mother and into the mountains for the harrowing warrior's initiation. Eyvind passes with flying colors and quickly earns a reputation as the strongest, most fearless Wolfskin in his jarl's retinue. He is now sure of his life path: a short but glorious life as a Wolfskin, with perhaps a woman and a child or two, leading to an honorable warrior's death. The gods have other plans for Eyvind, however--plans that will take him to a strange land of unsurpassed beauty, to a wild young priestess who saves his life and captures his heart, and ultimately to the edge of sanity, where he will either find his unique soul or lose it forever. An engrossing, beautifully written work of historical fiction and a portrait of a man's fierce struggle to find his own truth. Paula LuedtkeCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved