Release Date January 10th 2013
Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of Sandi Layne’s Éire’s Viking Trilogy, brings you to the unsettled era of the early Viking raids along the coast of Éire – today’s Ireland. Red-striped sails make their first appearance on the shores near the village of Ragor and the peaceful life of the villagers is obliterated in one deadly raid. Agnarr Halvardson and his overlord, Tuirgeis, have come to Éire for treasure, honor, and slaves. After slaying her husbands, Agnarr claims Charis, the healer of the village, as his personal medicine woman – and sex slave. Cowan, a local prince, is captured by Tuirgeis to serve as translator for trading journeys. Leaving the smoking ruins of Ragor and Bangor Monastery behind them – as well as the children Charis had carefully hidden from the Northmen – the invaders sail away. Cowan, a Christian, is captivated by the pale, widowed herbalist, and finds himself in love with her by the time they reach Nordweg, where they will spend the winter. He is compelled to leave her, however, to serve his master. The winter brings many trials. An invasion from another village’s warriors throws Cowan and Charis together more intimately than she is prepared to handle equitably. Her own feelings are growing uncertain, though she reminds herself that she has to return to Éire and the children she left there. As winter passes in Nordweg, Charis plans vengeance upon Agnarr even as she learns to see him differently. Beset by accusations of witchcraft, hounded by Agnarr’s betrothed and her slave – a refugee Charis herself healed more than a year before – and having to adapt to the strange language and customs among the people around her, Charis still makes her plans. Will she be able to put aside her feelings and escape when spring returns.
Éire’s Captive Moon by Sandi Layne is a gripping story that throws you into the middle of conflict almost as soon as you start reading it. We get to be present for the birth of the main character Charis who’s Mother is a mysterious pale woman who gives birth in a wolf den and dies as soon as her Daughter is in the world. Charis is however saved by an Irish healer and raised with his people to also be a healer. Charis had a perfect life as she got older. According to her ways she could have two husbands and she did two proud warrior husbands. Until the “invaders” or the Vikings showed up and attack her village.
I loved the writing in this book I really did. There were times that I hated the Vikings for what they did to the Irish and there were other times where they made me smile because they did something honorable. You learn a good amount about the different cultures of the time. Between the Irish who had been turned to Catholics those like Charis who still believed mostly in the old ways and the Vikings.
Occasionally I was left conflicted over how to feel about Charis’s actions towards her captor Agnarr but when I put myself in her shoes I could understand. You may have to learn to like someone when they seem to be your only friend in a land that is far from home. I can say this is a very readable book and I would recommend it to those who enjoy an adventure but do not mind a bit of violence in the writing. I am looking forward to the next part of this trilogy.
My Gemstone Rating: