Publisher: Blackstaff Press
Publishing Date: September 2013
Publisher Description: It is a dark time. For decades Hakon the Black, the most feared Norse Lord of the ninth century, has conducted bloody and gruesome raids throughout Europe, and laid his claim upon the seas. But it is also a time of hope. In the frozen wastelands of the north, Vidar searches for the Vestibule of Light. Alone, freezing and exhausted, he pushes on through the endless winter in the belief that once his quest is complete, he may return to the life he has left behind, and to Niclaus, the son he was forced to abandon. For Niclaus has a greater destiny – one foretold by Cado, the enigmatic Small Walker – and Vidar is but one player in the boy’s life. Cado has enlisted the help of protectors from all corners of the Earth to shield Niclaus: men whose worlds are connected by only the loosest of threads. But as Niclaus becomes older, and the various worlds begin to converge, will Vidar and Cado have to make sacrifices beyond imagining to protect those they love.
Review: The cover art is very, very good. Admittedly I have a thing for wildlife art.
This was an incredibly engaging novel. The characters were beautifully crafted as was the story-line. The novel jumps between two eras in time, about 30-40 years apart. It follows Vidar and his son Niclaus in the present and Cado the dwarf with Tomas the monk in the past.
This novel is epic in scale and seeks to fill in a history of the Norse and I am guessing, 9th century England and areas of Ireland. Are the internal politics and hierarchy of the 9th century accurate? Who knows, but I find it entirely plausible. The author builds a story of adventure around a cultures internal traditions and interactions that creates a broad tapestry of life that folds you in bit by bit.
There is a hint at continuance of this story at the end. I look forward to reading some more of this author with cigar in hand.