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Centuries ago, in a blood-soaked land ruled by legendary gods and warring men, a prophecy foretold of a high king who would come to reign over all of the north....
Ragnvald Eysteinsson, the son and grandson of kings, grew up believing that he would one day take his dead father's place as chief of his family's lands. But, sailing home from a raiding trip to Ireland, the young warrior is betrayed and left for dead by men in the pay of his greedy stepfather, Olaf. Rescued by a fisherman, Ragnvald is determined to have revenge for his stepfather's betrayal, claim his birthright and the woman he loves, and rescue his beloved sister, Svanhild. Opportunity may lie with Harald of Vestfold, the strong young Norse warrior rumored to be the prophesied king. Ragnvald pledges his sword to King Harald, a choice that will hold enormous consequence in the years to come.
While Ragnvald's duty is to fight - and even die - for his honor, Svanhild must make an advantageous marriage, though her adventurous spirit yearns to see the world. Her stepfather, Olaf, has arranged a husband for her - a hard old man she neither loves nor desires. When the chance to escape Olaf's cruelty comes at the hands of her brother's arch rival, the shrewd young woman is forced to make a heartbreaking choice: family or freedom.
Set in a mystical and violent world defined by honor, loyalty, deceit, passion, and courage, The Half-Drowned King is an electrifying adventure that breathtakingly illuminates the Viking world and the birth of Scandinavia.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By TC on 04-06-18
I was disappointed
This is a review of the Audible version.
I guess I was just expecting more from these characters; I became frustrated with Ragnavald's and Svanhild's constant second-guessing of their EVERY single decision. Other reviewers have raved about the author's nuanced portrayal of the brother and sister; I found them tedious. Ragnavald's, in the throes of self-doubt and introspection, suddenly and boldly challenges some rival of his, completely going against his own advice. It often felt like his thoughts and his actions were in direct contradiction, and as a result he comes across as bumbling.
And Svanhild! Yikes. I couldn't. I just couldn't see her as the indomitable, strong, self-possessed Viking woman that I'm sure Hartsuyker meant her to be. Instead, I saw her as a tease. On the one hand she sees her own mother as weak-willed for having taken Olaf as her second husband, yet she herself resorts to coquettish behavior of the worse sort in order to gain protection from men she thinks will be of help to her. She would rather resort to running away from her home and living in the wild than see herself trapped in a marriage not of her choosing, then she bargains herself off to become Solvi's second wife, then acts a pouting, petulant child on her wedding night. What exactly was she expecting? Instead of seeing her as self-determined woman who chooses her own path, I saw her as more of an impulsive teenager who bounces from one near-catastrophe of her own making to the next, with little concept of the real danger she puts herself and others through. The character I enjoyed the most was Solvi; he was, while by no means a romantic, actually quite charming in his own way. His treatment of Svanhild, and even Ragnavald, to an extent, could have been much harsher.
And did every single character have to be a descendant of kings? How many kings does one kingdom need?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Leonard on 10-06-17
Really Good First Novel
I'm a sucker for a history or novel set in the Viking era. This is one of the better Viking historical novels. This is not the typical cover-to-cover blood and gore story, but has a bit more historical accuracy and balance The story is well developed and the narration was great.
Very much looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful