Shield Maiden: Under the howling moon

Road to Valhalla I

Autor*in: Melanie Karsak
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Erscheinungsjahr: 2020
Verlag: Clockpunk Press

Hervor is a young maiden, beautiful and gifted, who was raised in her grandfather’s hall. The old man, Jarl Bjartmar, won’t let her become a true shield maiden and leave his herd. But he is also not pleased to have her around, for she is a fatherless girl, a bearer of misfortune in his eyes, left behind with anything but a deranged mother. Even when Hervor saves Bjartmars lordship by alarming the warriors as traitors try to kill him and those of his household, the jarl does not change his mind.
But there is something special about Hervor’s descent, a returning dream in which Odin himself whispers to her, promising that the truth will find her one day – whatever that may mean. Eydis, Hervor’s slave and servant, a völva, strongly believes that there is a unique fate for the girl yet to come.
When the king and his son arrive for a great gathering at Bjartmar’s village, something changes. And as the king’s son shows his growing interest in Hervor, she also feels that destiny is calling her to leave the place where she was raised to find her destiny…

Retelling the old norse Hevarar Saga, Melanie Karsak leads her readers into a rough and hard past. In the Viking age, only strength and power counted to many men. Good fighting skills and honorable origin meant a lot, too. Lacking the latter, Karsak’s protagonist has no other way than to fight for her fortune and the place the gods have meant for her. The author combines historical facts, the ancient religion of the norsemen, mythical and fantastic elements and last but not least a quite variable set of characters to successfully tell an interesting and somehow thrilling tale. This first part of her saga may leave goose bumps among many within her audience, being a well-written and catching page turner from the beginning. Not only for those interested in historical Scandinavia and it’s myths, but also for folks who like strong female protagonists making their way through a fantasy story, I can only recommend this book. Written in a comparatively easy English, it will surely also suit German readers, teaching some old norse words to them and native speakers alike. And as one book is surely not enough, there are already several sequels to it. So as the road to Valhalla is long for Hervor – it fortunately is for the author’s audience as well…

Author: nickvs