Published by Lyrical Press on October 11th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
In this exciting new series, the dramatic world of the Vikings is brought to life in vivid, historical detail. As brave warriors fight to defend family honor and tradition, they discover unexpected passion with memorable women who only further their resolve for justice . . . Following his father’s murder, Eirik Ivarson plunges into a maelstrom of brutal warfare. As outsiders threaten his homeland and all he holds dear, Eirik vows to maintain his focus and avenge the jarl’s death. In his quest for revenge, he will leave everything behind, all he knows, and all he loves. Asa Sigrundsdottir, a spirited shieldmaiden with warm brown eyes, is wary of the golden-haired warrior discovered half-frozen in a storm. It is clear Eirik is a man of valor, bestowed with the gift of reading runes and destined for greatness. And despite the shadows in her past, he chooses her to help him on his journey. But when their bond is tested, it will take the strength of a hero to keep their love alive . . .
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Lord of the Runes is the first book in the ‘Viking Lords’ series by Sabrina Jarema. It is the first book that I have read by this author, and it definitely will NOT be my last.
This is the story of Eirik Ivarson, the son of a Jarl. After the loss of his wife and baby he spends 3 years away from his home trying to come to terms with his grief and guilt. He hasn’t long returned home when ‘outcasts’ raid, fighting to take over his home and lands. It’s an unexpected raid as it’s so late in winter, and it’s one that Eirik, his father, and men aren’t prepared for. They lose the fight and Eirik has to watch his father being slain. He himself barely escapes capture when he kills the man who slay the Jarl. He is determined to avenge his father’s death, to rescue his mother and sister who have been taken captive amongst the other villagers who didn’t fight, and to take back his home. In order to do that he has to battle the dire winter weather, freezing temperatures and blizzards to reach his cousin who will have the man power and ships needed to return in the Spring to oust the ‘outcasts’.
Before he can make it there he nearly dies in a blizzard but thankfully is found and taken into a stranger’s keep. He is unconscious most of the time and it is up to the Jarl’s sister Asa, to nurse him back to health. During his time unconscious they try to see what he has on his person that might explain who he is. They find a bag of Runes. People who can read the runes are revered and the Jarl is even more determined that Eirik recovers lest they are cursed for not helping him.
Asa is shieldmaiden, a female warrior. She’s had something happen to her in her past that has made her realise that she will never be able to marry or have a relationship with a man. She is settled with that fact and is happy fighting with her family as and when necessary. She can’t help however noticing that Eirik is a fine figure of a man, and once he recovers she finds that she is quite taken with him.
Eirik too feels the pull of attraction. Jarl Magnus watches quietly from afar, knowing that Eirik is a stranger and that he has secrets, also knowing that he won’t be good enough for his sister because he isn’t a Jarl or royalty. He should warn Eirik off, but it’s a wonder for him to see Asa allow a man to even touch her hand, and he is willing for now to see how things progress between the couple. Eirik is to stay with them for the winter, until then he won’t be able to make it to his cousin. So he settles in to life in their keep as best he can. His mother is a Mistress of the Runes, and she has taught him to harness their powers and to read them properly. As a way to earn his keep he offers to do readings for anybody who is interested. He also offers to help Asa carve some runes for protection in a Dragon head that is to be sold to be put on the prow of a ship. During their ‘carving’ sessions a magical bond forms between them both and Eirik is determined to marry Asa once he has avenged his family and takes on his official title and role as Jarl.
First he has to get to his cousin and fight the battle. Can he win back his home, save his people, and the heart of Asa. There are a couple of people in Magnus’ home that will do everything in their power to stop him doing all three! Will they be discovered before it’s too late?
This book really has the WOW factor for me. I couldn’t read it quickly enough, I was hooked from the very first page. Eirik and Asa are both such strong characters despite having suffered heartache in the past. It was so lovely reading how their feelings for each other helped heal not just themselves but also each other. And of course apart from the romance there was the Viking raids and the excitement of the battle to enjoy, though not so much in the beginning when poor Eirik’s father was slain. You definitely run the gamut of emotions reading this book. The magic of the runes was an absolute delight to read about and brought that added extra to the story. Making it not just a wonderful romance, but a mystical one as well. I loved this story and can’t wait to read the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed and Advanced Reader Copy of this book.