Tuesday 6 November 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of Vengeful Wind: A Novel of Viking Age Ireland by James L. Nelson

(The Norsemen Saga Book 8)

Summer comes to Ireland and an uneasy peace holds at Loch Garman. The Northmen, eager to get to sea, work relentlessly on their ships, with the aid of their unlikely allies, the Irish, who are just as eager to see them go. But not everyone is willing to just let them sail away. Certain that God demands the heathens be punished, the one-eyed warrior-turned-monk Brother Bécc is determined that Thorgrim and his men will not simply go free. And when another band of raiders arrives, Bécc finds the excuse he needs to take action. Meanwhile, in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, murder leads to a violent struggle for the seat of ealdorman, ruler of the shire of Dorset. Desperate as each side is to tip the balance of power their way, no one imagines that the upper hand might come from the direction they least expect—from the sea.”

Yet again, James Nelson has pulled another rabbit out of the hat – or Viking out of the boat –  and created an awesome story that will keep you reading into the small hours. Mr Nelson’s experienced knowledge of seamanship will have you reaching for a bucket if you are inclined to get seasick, for his nautical descriptions are stunningly well written. His characters, too, are all wonderful creations and very believable, as are the situations they meet and the dilemmas they face.

This is a stand-alone story, but I whole-heartedly suggest starting at the beginning of the Saga to gain the full appreciation of the events and characters. Lovers of nautical or Viking-based stories will not regret doing so!

Quite a few long-running series start to flag a short way in, either foundering for lack of a new plot or meeting the doldrums of repetitiveness – not so this Viking Saga. In fact I would be so bold as to say it increases in excitement, interest and sheer readability with each new novel that Mr Nelson writes. I hope there will be more!

© Mary Turner

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